Virus Keeps Black Friday Crowds Thin, Shoppers Shift Online

Shoppers wear protective face masks as they look for Black Friday deals at the Ellenton Premium Outlet stores Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, in Ellenton, Fla. Attendance at the mall was down in an attempt to avoid spreading the corona virus. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

(AP) — After months of slumping sales and businesses toppling into bankruptcy, Black Friday is offering a small beacon of hope. Black Friday is normally the busiest shopping day of the year and draws millions of shoppers eager to get started on their holiday spending. But a spike in coronavirus cases is threatening the economy’s recovery from the sudden plunge in the spring. Crowds were dramatically diminished as shoppers buy more online. Many retailers are beefing up their safety protocols. They are moving their doorbuster deals online and offering curbside pickup as a last grasp at sales before they head into the dark days of winter.

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