EASTON — Some shoppers still ventured out to stores for Black Friday holiday deals on Nov. 27 even with all the fears, warnings and new government orders issued in response to the coronavirus.
The parking lots were crowded with cars at the Target and Walmart stores in Easton on Friday, traditionally the start of the Christmas shopping season.
Eager Black Friday shoppers came out with lots of early Christmas gifts. Some people had been shopping since early in the morning at multiple malls. One woman said she started at Queenstown Premium Outlets.
There were electric motor cross bikes and 70-inch flat screen TVs being slid into the back of trucks. All the while the Salvation Army man rang his bell for Christmas donations.
“I was at Target earlier. I got some sales,” said Julie Welch outside the Walmart store in Easton.
While retailers are not promoting the usual Black Friday hours and some consumers are opting to stay at home because of the virus, others still visited big-box stores and other shops on the day after Thanksgiving.
“100%, I am all done for Christmas for my three daughters,” said Lamar Johnson of Preston.
Stores such as Walmart and Target have remained open throughout the coronavirus because they also have groceries and pharmacies.
“I bought some toys, cutting board, a blanket, a bathmat, some household stuff, but mostly Christmas stuff,” said Estelle Szczerba outside the Walmart store in Easton.
The stores require masks and social distancing and offer sanitizer to customers. The shoppers who ventured out were focused on staying safe while also picking up Christmas gifts.
“This was an impulse purchase. My son has always wanted a dirt bike. We saw this and thought now is the time for my son. He is seven,” said Tracy Bumgarner.
COVID-19 has also not hit Talbot County and other parts of the Eastern Shore as hard as other parts of the state and country. There are currently 75 active COVID cases in Talbot, according to the county health department.
The Shore is also politically more conservative. Public opinion polls have shown conservatives and supporters of President Donald Trump are far less concerned about the virus than their counterparts on the left.
James Stanford of Cambridge was ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. He said the donations were generously pour in to help those in need. He had started ringing at 8 a.m. Friday morning.
David Plumb, an artist from Easton, said in this difficult times we all need to give to Salvation Army. He said that people are really hurting and need all the help they can get. Stanford wanted to tell everyone he said hello and Merry Christmas.
Other local residents are doing a mix of online and in-person holiday shopping.
“I did a lot of online shopping so I am done for the day,” said Elizabeth Stacey of Hurlock.
At Target was Erica and Cory Meyers who are married and expecting. They are from Washington D.C. “We bought baby stuff and my parents bought a TV. We found a good deal on a stroller- half off,” said Cory.
Shoppers were impressed by the stores’ efforts to keep customers and employees safe.
“The stores did a good job. There weren’t any crowds and there was hand sanitizer everywhere,” said Carolyn Graziano from Stafford, Virginia.
COVID did not force these shoppers to go online. Mindfully, they continue to go out find some deals.