Opinion: Shop safe this holiday season

COVID safety precautions still need to be followed especially by large crowds of holiday shoppers—and it’s better to shop online

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Becky Arendarczyk

From Black Friday until Christmas Eve, people flood stores looking for the perfect gift for their loved ones. This year has been the opposite of normal, though, so shoppers shouldn’t shop as they normally do.

Alayna Majkrzak, Staff Writer

What do you get when you cross a global pandemic and Thanksgiving weekend? A super spreading event that causes more transmissions in a state where numbers are still steadily rising.

Black Friday shopping is a common, exciting event that many people partake on the Friday following Thanksgiving. There are many deals taking place on the day, and in the one day alone the total that people spent (in 2019) is 729 billion dollars. People use this day to get a head start on their holiday shopping, which they will partake in until Christmas. But this year’s shopping season can’t — and shouldn’t — look like last year.

Did you go Black Friday shopping this year?

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Illinois stores have been reduced to 20-25% of their normal capacity. Holiday deals always encourage large crowds of people. But even with less than half of the regular people going, and the option of online shopping, there are still large groups of people gathered together. This makes the danger of spreading COVID-19 grow. Especially if people refuse to wear their mask, or social distance.

COVID-19 cases are exponentially high right now in the US and in Illinois specifically. In the state alone there have been 789,000 recorded cases and in the US as a whole there have been 14.8 million. By going Black Friday shopping in-person, people actively put themselves and others at a high risk for COVID.

Hospitals right now are getting overwhelmed by cases, if not already. So, the danger from COVID-19 isn’t just affecting holiday shoppers, or affecting their family, but also harming the hospital staff. There is more at risk right now than just someone’s personal health, there are many other people’s health on the line as well.

Though, there was a 20-22% rise in online shopping on Black Friday alone, meaning the crowds weren’t as large. Along with stores’ reduced capacity, shoppers may be able to maintain distance away from each other. If everyone was wearing their masks properly then the risk goes down exponentially.

Times now are unprecedented and tiresome with all of the rules. But these rules and stipulations are here to keep people safe. If only a few people break the guidelines they are putting many people at risk for getting sick or even death. As a society, people need to remember that working together, and following the guidelines are important to recover our country.