Pandemic leads to changes on Black Friday at The Mall at Johnson City


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – After filling their stomachs for Thanksgiving, a lot of people go out and fill their shopping carts for Black Friday shopping.

News Channel 11’s Kristen Gallant was at the Mall at Johnson City where despite the COVID-19 pandemic, shoppers were out and about looking for that perfect holiday gift.

The mall opened at 6 a.m. on Black Friday and will stay open until 10 p.m.

Shoppers said even though this Black Friday is a little different from years past, this gives them a little sense of holiday normalcy.

“I was shopping for my Christmas presents today because I don’t like surprises,” said Emma Wilson who was shopping at the mall.  

“They’re helping me shop for my girlfriend,” laughed her friends brother, Blake Lawson.

Whether shopping for yourself or a friend, Black Friday is usually the busiest time for stores across the country.

”We normally go late but we got up really early this morning and went because we couldn’t go last night,” said Blake’s sister Jade Lawson.

Some stores usually open on Thanksgiving night, but this year with COVID-19 precautions, the mall at Johnson City opted to cut back on Black Friday hours compared to years past.

“Today we opened up early for Black Friday,” said Sheila Reed, marketing director for the mall. “We were closed for Thanksgiving this year. We open until 10 p.m. tonight. We’re seeing a lot of stores still offering their in-store deals as well as online.”

Extra cleaning has been put in place at the mall.

“We got a very rigorous cleaning schedule ourselves and extra housekeeping staff,” said Reed. “Our stores have a limit on their max capacities to help with social distancing.”

Riley Pudney and her family drove to Johnson City all the way from Beach Mountain, North Carolina.

“We come here for the mall and for all the big-name stores,” she explained.

Pudney said even with the new precautions in place, they weren’t going to miss out on Black Friday deals.

“With this year, just having a sense of normalcy and having the same thing to do every year and just getting out and seeing the same people, we need it this year more than ever,” said Pudney.

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