BALTIMORE — The sights and sounds of the season may be the same but Black Friday shopping definitely feels different.
For nearly two decades, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been dubbed the busiest shopping day of the year. But as COVID-19 cases continue to increase, the traditional long lines, and shoppers camping out are a thing of the past.
"I would have been out at 6 AM, in the crowd," said shopper Lanelle Beale. "Black Friday, I would’ve done it but now I’m a little nervous. We’re getting a late start. I said, 'Let’s just see how Walmart is and will move forward from there."
Beale isn't the only person cautious about Black Friday shopping behavior.
In light of the pandemic, many retailers made adjustments for the 2020 holiday season. Both Walmart and Target spread their Black Friday deals throughout the week rather than limiting them to a single day this month.
As for social distancing, many shoppers tell WMAR-2 News that's a significant factor in how they shop.
"I chose the drive-up option," said Regis Cottman. "I'm also I’m taking advantage of the black Friday sales via online so that way I don’t have to mess with the crowds or nothing."
Those looking for a more intimate setting, chose to shop at small businesses.
In Hampden, engaged couple Erica Frey and Connor Pyles have made it a day of shopping local. One of the stores they visited was Charlotte Elliott and The Bookstore Next Door.
"I’ve been in and out of here and I know the owners," said Frey. "I’ve seen them in interacted with him so you just want to help them and their livelihood so that we can all have a nice holiday season.
Heading into Small Business Saturday, mom and pop retailers are reminding customers to come visit them.
"Not only as we clean, we also don't have the crowds," said Charlotte Hays Murray. "It’s personal. It’s individual. I know who you are, I know who my customers are and when I don’t know who you are, I know you when you come back."