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Thanksgiving Black Friday shopping looks dramatically different in 2020

No lines, no full parking lots, and no crowds at popular Black Friday shopping spots normally open on Thanksgiving across Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Black Friday shopping looks drastically different during a pandemic. Normally malls, shopping centers and big box stores would be jam packed with eager shoppers, camping out to get the best deals.

This year around 10 o'clock on Thanksgiving parking lots at Walmart and Best buy in Fayetteville, Arkansas, were empty because both stores were closed. A vastly different scene than 2019 when cars lined up bumper to bumper to grab an available parking spot on Black Friday eve. 

Cathryn Comstock from Van Buren said she makes Black Friday shopping an annual event, but this year, like many others, she is opting out of the lines and early wake up call.

"Normally I would religiously be up at 2 o'clock or 4 o'clock in the morning," Comstock said. "Whatever I needed to do, but I work in health care. I work for an eye doctor as a financial advisor so I want to be frugal with my money. Not knowing how it is going to work out in this industry right now due to COVID-19 I am trying to be conscientious."

Due to COVID-19, many big box stores and Black Friday favorites started the discounts early and promoted online deals to cut back on crowds. Walmart started rolling out in-store deals on November 7 and spread them out over three weekends.

According to the retailers' websites Best Buy and Walmart, popular Black Friday shopping destinations, will both open at 5 a.m. Friday (Nov. 27). 

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