Here's How To Shop Black Friday Safely Amid Coronavirus, According To Experts

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I love deals, you love deals, everyone loves deals. That's why Black Friday always manages to turn out huge crowds year after year. I can't think of many things better than buying something for an unbeatable discount, and nothing beats the instant gratification of shopping in person. But, like everything else in 2020, Black Friday isn't going to be the same this year. However, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. Before you grab your purse to start camping in front of the mall, there are some precautions you should take to shop safely on Black Friday amid the coronavirus.

Black Friday inherently involves things that are not COVID-friendly. Being in crowded, enclosed spaces with strangers is a major coronavirus pandemic no-no to begin with, and shopping involves grabbing, touching, and sometimes trying things on that are already high-touch surfaces. If you still plan on shopping IRL this year, you should be extra cautious about how you protect yourself.

First and foremost, wear a mask. Seriously, wear one and don't take it off. “We now have seen that most research shows the primary way SARSCoV2 is transmitted is person to person by airborne respiratory droplets or aerosols,” Dr. Rodney E. Rohde, PhD, MS, and associate director of Texas State University’s Translational Health Research, previously told Elite Daily in September 2020. Before anything else, a mask that completely covers your nose and mouth is a definite must for any out-of-the-house activities.

Another need is hand washing and hand sanitizer, both of which you should do and use frequently while out. “The virus doesn’t live long on fabrics. so that makes picking it up from fabrics unlikely … Although I would try not to touch surfaces if avoidable," says Dr. Ebbing Lautenbach, MD, MPH, MSCE, professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania. "Do frequent hand hygiene, particularly after touching high-touch objects (e.g. door handles)." Every time you enter and leave a store, it's a good practice to sanitize you hands. Although you should avoid adjusting your mask at all, you'll absolutely want to apply hand sanitizer before touching it.

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Lastly, don't go into overcrowded stores, no matter how badly you want the sneakers, the laptop, or the skincare set. The more people inside a small, not-well-aired-out space, the more dangerous it is. "More current research continues to show how important well-ventilated areas are, so be aware of your environment. Try to avoid small, cramped stores with too many people inside," Dr. Rohde says. If you see a place not limiting the amount of customers inside or it doesn't seem well ventilated, skip that stop and shop the online sale instead.

Above all else, the safest shopping option for Black Friday this year is to move your shopping plans online. Several brands have already announced online Black Friday deals that start prior to the day, so there's little chance you'll miss out on anything IRL. Of course, you should shop within reason online, too, so as not to overload shipping and fulfillment centers.

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As of Nov. 9, coronavirus case numbers continue to rise in much of the U.S. And if crowds flock to the stores on Black Friday just as in years past, with no regard for the CDC's coronavirus guidelines, that trend will only continue. No deal is worth putting your health, the health of your loved ones, or the health of the immunocompromised at risk. If you have no choice but to hit the stores on come Nov. 27, mask up and keep these tips in mind for a safe shopping trip.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.

Sources cited:

Dr. Rodney E. Rohde, PhD, MS, and Associate Director of Texas State University’s Translational Health Research

Dr. Ebbing Lautenbach, MD, MPH, MSCE, professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania