Mask up and get ready to shop Black Friday

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

For some, it's about tradition and for others it's about the deals, but either way you slice it, Black Friday 2020 will look a bit different.

Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving on Nov. 27 this year — is one of the busiest, craziest shopping days of the year, with retailers slashing prices and offering doorbuster sales.

People shop at Destin Commons on Monday afternoon. Destin Commons' more than 80 business will be open from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. on Black Friday, with extended hours of 7 a.m.-10 p.m. at Belk and and 5 a.m.-9 p.m. at Bass Pro Shops.

"Black Friday is always busy. ... People love to get out and take advantage of those sales," said Shane Moody, president and CEO of the Destin Chamber of Commerce.

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However, he added, "I think it will be interesting to see in the COVID-era how the stores prepare for it as well as how many people go out and shop that day."

Teke Lee and Francisco Bailon with Brightview Landscape are framed by palm fronds as they work to assemble the 65-foot Christmas Tree that sits in the center of Destin Commons.

Earlier this year, retailers closed their doors because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But after several weeks of the shutdown, businesses started to reopen with safety precautions. And those precautions, such as wiping down shopping carts and offering hand sanitizers, are still in place for the holidays. Different businesses have various face mask policies, so be prepared.

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"I think people have just adapted to that is the way it is (mask wearing) and that's what they are going to do," Moody said.

Bobby Jones with Brightview Landscape attaches bows to a 54-foot Christmas tree that stands in the center of Destin Commons in preparation for the holiday shopping season.

But masks and all, Moody said he anticipates a good turnout for area businesses.

"It's such a huge tradition to so many families, I would expect it to be a good Black Friday. I think everybody is really looking forward to Christmas and having a positive release from all of this," he said.

In years past, Black Friday sales started on Thanksgiving Day, or rather evening. But now most stores are closed on Thanksgiving, with a few exceptions such as Dollar General, Big Lots and Bass Pro Shops at Destin Commons. 

Destin Commons, home to more than 80 business, will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Black Friday.

Parking spots are marked for curbside pickup at Silver Sands  Premium Outlets.

"All of our stores will be open, as they are now," said Heather Ruiz, senior director of marketing and leasing at Destin Commons.

However, a few will have extended hours. Bass Pro Shops will be open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Belk from 7 a.m to 10 p.m.

As for COVID-19 precautions at Destin Commons, Ruiz said each store has its own mask policies posted on their doors so shoppers will know the expectations before they enter.

"We have signage up recommending social distancing around the property, and, of course, are continuing our cleaning protocols that started when we reopened in May. With us being an outdoor center, it is a desirable, open-air atmosphere," she said.

Silvers Sands Premium Outlets in Miramar Beach will be closed Thanksgiving Day, but will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Black Friday, with some of the stores staying open until 10 p.m.

"In these challenging times, we made the decision that we will not open on Thanksgiving Day, instead allowing our associates to spend the holiday with their loved ones," said David Simon, chairman, CEO and president of Simon, the parent company of Silver Sands.

Silver Sands continues to stress safety precautions during the holiday shopping extravaganza. Most of the stores require masks to enter. Signs with "Healthy Shopper Guidelines" are posted throughout the outdoor outlet mall.

Signs for healthy guidelines are posted throughout Silver Sands Premium Outlets as a reminder during the pandemic.

Some stores, such as Van's, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and OshKosh B'Gosh Outlet, even have limits placed on the door for number of shoppers. The smaller the store, the smaller the number allowed in at one time.

Some stores have roped off areas outside for people to wait in line, with markings for folks to stand 6 feet apart.

Face masks are required at Silver Sands Premium Outlets.

Silver Sands has at least 11 stores, such as the Old Navy Outlet, Tumi, American Eagle and Vera Bradley, that offer curbside pickup service that is marked with signs.

In addition to the big outdoor malls, stores like Walmart and Target will be open on Black Friday with precautions in place and curbside pickup available.

Target will open at 7 a.m. Friday, and most Target deals, including doorbusters, will be available online at Target.com.

Walmart will open at 5 a.m. Black Friday.

Kohl's in Fort Walton Beach will be is closed Thanksgiving Day but will open at 5 a.m. Black Friday as well with curbside pickup. The limited-contact pickup option allows shoppers to place orders online and select the pickup option.

For frequent shoppers at Kohl's who like Kohl's Cash, if they earn a lot on Black Friday, it should be available to use Dec. 1.

Best Buy in Destin will open at 5 a.m. Friday. Because of the pandemic, Best Buy  recommends that people not camp out at the store beforehand. Highly anticipated products can be pre-ordered at Bestbuy.com and can be picked up at the store through its contactless curbside pickup.