Black Friday shopping

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – The coronavirus pandemic is not stopping the Black Friday shopping.

Hamilton Place and Northgate Mall will once again be closed this Thanksgiving for the 5th consecutive year, but will reopen on Black Friday at 7 a.m. and will be open until 9 p.m.

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“The health and safety of our customers and employees is defiantly our top priority. So we’re continuing to monitor this situation and tracking updates from the CDC and other local government agencies,” Hamilton Place and Northgate Mall spokesperson Stacey Keating said.

Keating said that in addition to safety measures, they’ll be enforcing the mask mandate.

She said retailers will also be monitoring occupancy, restrictions and making sure folks social distance.

“We just want people to be comfortable with the measures that we put into place so they feel comfortable coming out to the mall on Friday, over the weekend and throughout the rest of the holiday season,” Keating said.

Black Friday will look different this year, but it’s hard to tell how the pandemic might impact turnout at stores.

“Just with COVID, people don’t want to get to close to other people and I mean in years past it’s just crazy or hectic,” Hamilton County resident Vahn Kaye said.

“Since we’ve reopened earlier this year traffic has continued to build and retailers are reporting higher conversion rates. So the people that are coming to the mall are doing so with the intention to buy and I expect that to be the trend into the holiday season,” Keating said.

Keating said that many retailers already have deals going.

She encourages those who feel uncomfortable about shopping on Black Friday to come into the stores earlier.

Hamilton Place has a list of deals online: https://www.hamiltonplace.com/deals

The Chattanooga Area Chamber has published a list of Black Friday deals at area stores: http://www.chattanoogatrend.com/topics/entry/2020-black-friday-deals

Santa will still be arriving on Friday at Hamilton Place.

Keating said that in-person visits with Santa are still available, but folks must reserve a time to see him.

Santa can be visited virtually this year.