SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Thanksgiving is next week which means the holiday shopping season is upon us.
So what will Black Friday look like during a pandemic?
While there are still boards up on some of the merchants in Union Square, many have started to come down revealing the glittery and colorful windows that help get shoppers in the mood to spend money.
But there are fewer places to spend. H&M has shuttered their Flagship San Francisco store, although there shop inside the Westfield Mall remains open, as did the Gap.
Karin Flood, the spokesperson for the Union Square Business Improvement District, is hoping that consumers get the message: that despite the pandemic — this shopping mecca is still the place to come.
But Black Friday is going to look a little different.
“I don’t think we’ll have the crowds that we did. I think Black Friday will be more like Black November and December it’s gonna be spread out,” Flood said. “The stores will be offering deals starting now through the holidays.”
In addition to limiting the numbers of visitors inside, Gumps offers curbside pickup, online shopping, private shopping appointments and virtual shopping appointments.
“It allows you to meet with one of our associates online virtually we can show you the unique gifts and ornaments that we have available and help you make that decision.”
A San Francisco transplant back in town for a visit couldn’t get over how few shoppers were out on Friday.
“We used to come here once twice a year, this is like a ghost town compared to how it’s been every other time that I’ve been back here,” Marc Capalbo said. “I’m amazed and I’m amazed at so many businesses are closed down how does the city survive economically?”
But one street vendor said he’s notices an increase in foot traffic once the weekend rolls around.
“They carry a lot of bags and everything from different stores so I think business is going good,” he said.
If San Francisco slides back into the purple tier, that would mean retail stores would have reduce indoor shopping capacity from 50% to 25%.
The reaction from the people at Gump say they plan to adapt to whatever will come. Now more than ever, family traditions matter and they will do what they can to keep those going.