What to expect on Black Friday at local malls

MADISON, Wis.– East and West Towne Malls made a list of safety precautions and they’re checking it twice.

Black Friday, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, is just five days away and local malls are increasing safety and cleaning procedures ahead of the big day.

“We want to provide an enjoyable experience for everyone who comes and shops, but in today’s world we recognize that there are certain things that need to happen,” Marketing Director Melissa Cavanagh said.

East and West Towne Malls’ hours will extend for the holiday season, giving people the opportunity to shop during less crowded times.

Both the food court and stores will follow capacity limits, which means there might be a line at some point. In that case, there will be floor decals indicating where shoppers can stand six feet apart while waiting.

“So, creating a space that is socially distanced, that shoppers can wait in line and feel comfortable, because it is not a crowded situation,” Cavanagh said.

As Dr. Anthony Fauci clarified to USA Today this weekend, Santa Claus is immune to COVID-19, but the malls are still gonna protect you and the big man.

“It’s contactless, and that means the children and the families will be kept six feet away from Santa,” Cavanagh said. “Children will still be able to talk to Santa, just from six feet away.”

Santa arrives at West and East Towne Malls on Friday and will continue to make appearances throughout the season. Reservations can be made online and photos can be purchased right away.

Cavanagh said it might not be necessary to compete with other shoppers on Friday, because many stores aren’t limiting sales to one day, but rather the whole season.

“You’re going to see Black Friday deals not only before Black Friday, but probably after Black Friday and carrying on all the way through the holidays,” Cavanagh said.

If people do decide to take part in the annual shopping tradition, the malls ask that people do their part to keep everyone safe.

“Let’s wash our hands. Let’s wear our masks,” Cavanagh said. “When you come to the mall stay socially distanced from your fellow shoppers because we are really excited to be able to provide a shopping experience, especially this year.”

Hilldale Mall will follow standard hours on Black Friday, with the exception of a few stores choosing to open early. Santa will not visit the mall in person this year, but he did record a special holiday video, which is available to watch on a screen near Macy’s. according to a property spokesperson.