Black Friday draws smaller crowds to South Florida malls; others opt for beach day

Black Friday sales drew shoppers to malls and large retailers across South Florida, but the coronavirus pandemic, as well as online deals and the lure of a day at the beach, led to smaller crowds than in past years.
7News cameras captured shoppers camping out as early as Thursday afternoon, but the long lines and rush to take advantage of doorbusters in large numbers did not quite materialize.
“It’s almost depressing, because nothing is the same,” said shopper Andrea Wildman.
It was quieter and less crowded, exactly what one would expect a Black Friday in 2020 to look like.
“Honestly, there weren’t much people as I thought there would be,” said a shopper.
Some people chose to shop online this time.
“Black Friday became like a Cyber Friday,” said Miami resident Leo Martin.
Others skipped out on the deals in person to enjoy the sun instead. Tourists were seen soaking up family time on Miami Beach, Friday afternoon.
“I think the things that make life fantastic after Thanksgiving is being able to be out with family and friends and enjoying a beautiful day,” said visitor. “That’s just more valuable to me than buying stuff.”
“Me and my wife, we don’t like shopping, especially my wife,” said a passer-by on Lincoln Road Mall.
“No, I like shopping,” his wife replied.
Lincoln Road Mall did manage to attract a crowd, Friday evening.
“I really didn’t do any Black Friday shopping,” said Martin. “I just got everything ready before and kind of did it, like, the pick up now, let’s say.”
But there were still plenty of early birds trying to get those doorbuster deals.
“I’m trying to get the [PlayStation] 5,” said a shopper.
“I’m going to go get a computer,” said another shopper.
“Just the good deals, and just to see. This is my first time in Black Friday,” said another shopper.
He wasn’t the only first-timer.
“First time for Black Friday, but for it being Black Friday, it’s actually pretty empty here at Dolphin,” said a shopper at Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater.
Stores and malls across South Florida put plenty of coronavirus safety measures in place, and shoppers noticed.
“Masks are a fact of life today. I don’t want to get sick, and I don’t want to make anyone sick,” said shopper Fred Weissman.
“I used to wait outside, camping outside after Thanksgiving dinner for the stores to open, and it’s just not the same,” said Wildman.
For some diehard shoppers, there’s always 2021.
“I think we’ll be back to normal by next year,” said Martin.
The next big shopping event, especially for those who did not make any purchases on Black Friday, will be Cyber Monday.

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