BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — Black Friday shopping at many stores and malls is returning tomorrow or even already happening tonight around Rochester. In the pre-pandemic ER’s you would have seen retail giants like Walmart, Target and Best Buy already welcoming people through the evening on Thanksgiving.
However after a stressful year working through the pandemic and other matters, they needed a break to gear up for tomorrow. But, local doctors urge caution.
Some popular chain outlets like Game Stop opened their doors for several hours on Thanksgiving evening, giving early birds of Black Friday shopping big deals on new consoles and games.
“I had to get this Play Station Five,” Robert Humble said while outside the Game Stop in Brighton. “It’s Black Friday and I’ve been trying to get it for two years, so I had to come to get it.”
“Just getting Christmas gift for my family and little brothers and sisters,” Aaron McDaniels said while in line to go into Game Stop. “Just want to make sure I get here earlier than I can so I can have it on time.”
Black Friday foot traffic is expected to rise toward pre-pandemic levels just like holiday travel this year. But it’s coming as the Finger Lakes Region has a 7-day average of more than 770 positive Covid cases. Nearly double this week’s stats in 2020. Worrying doctors as some hospitals are at or over capacity.
“People still got to be smart and gather smart,” UR Thompson Hospital CEO Michael Stapleton said. “They still got to social distance and protect yourself because we do not have the capacity or bed space in this community to deal with the same level of surge as this time last year.”
At Game Stop, management only allowed a certain number of people to come in at a time. With signs saying, “face masks are strongly recommended.” While other stores like Walmart, Best Buy, and Target have policies for unvaccinated people to stay masked while inside and encourage social distancing.
“I always mask up and social distance for all the guidelines that have been set for us,” Game Stop Shopper Gordon Edwards said. “So, I’ll be safe. It is always a concern, but we have been safe through the pandemic thus far me and my family. So, it’s been a blessing.”
All the Finger Lakes Region is still labeled as a High Transmission Area per-CDC standards. This means everyone regardless of vaccine status should mask up indoors to slow the spread of Covid-19.
A reminder the current positive case rates per-capita and total weekly averages we are seeing reported by the State Department of Health are almost double 2020 trends during Thanksgiving last year when we did not even have a vaccine.