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Black Friday Bucking With Tradition Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, With Stores Starting Later And Limiting Customers

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Thanksgiving Day, of course, is traditionally the time we are sitting down with your families, to celebrate together, and give thanks - but as we know, nothing about this year with the COVID-19 pandemic has been traditional.

And nothing about Black Friday will be traditional either.

As CBS 2's Tim McNicholas reported, we can forget about the rush to line up for those deals after we eat tonight.

McNicholas headed a Target store for this story. It was Thanksgiving night and there was nobody there. Pinch yourself if you wish – this is not a dream. It's just life in 2020.

Target will not open until 7 a.m. Friday. The company said it has a game plan to limit people in their store.

But big businesses aren't the only ones with a safety strategy.

D'Cher Whitaker faces a challenge at her boutique Love Peridot, at 1114 S. Delano Ct. in the Roosevelt Collection shops in the South Loop. They need customers this holiday season.

"Everything is at stake," Whitaker said. "If you don't shop small, our families are at stake."

Love Peridot also needs to limit customers – no more than three in the store at a time. For Black Friday, she encourages shoppers to call ahead or order online for curbside pickup.

Might Whitaker end up having to tell people to wait outside?

"We may, because it's Black Friday," she said.

In Glenview, Abt Electronics plans to check customers' temperatures on Friday, and they have designated 30 parking spaces for pickup orders.

"I don't think we'll have to tell people to wait outside," said Mike Abt. "But you know, that's a potential and we've never had to do that ever in the past."

Abt doesn't plan to change their hours, but some stores are opening bright and early. Woodfield and Orland Square malls will open at 6 a.m., while Chicago Ridge and Southlake will open at 7 a.m.

Best Buy will open its stores at 5 a.m. The company said staff will be out directing and managing lines.

"Everyone really wants to make your store look like it's less crowded, so we're keeping employees real far away we're getting people in and out as soon as possible if they want to come in," Abt said.

Like all things 2020, Black Friday is unpredictable. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association says while many businesses have a plan to limit their customers, managers and owners are not sure whether that plan will even be needed – because health concerns might keep people home.

But Whitaker is asking people to think beyond Amazon and other retail giants.

"If you don't shop with us, we may not be here next year," she said, "so it's very important."

In other words, she wants you to be bold with your shopping.

The City of Chicago is also encouraging people to shop at Black-owned businesses. They're calling it Black Shop Friday.

The city is even promoting a website that lists several Black-owned businesses, including Whitaker's. She said the initiative means a lot to her, and she can use any help she can get.

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