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Options for a safer holiday shopping season

Buying is off to an early start, with more spread out sales to mitigate the spread of the virus.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — This holiday shopping season there won’t be the same mad dashes to the mall for black Friday sales. 

Instead, buying is off to an early start, with more spread out sales to mitigate the spread of the virus.

A successful and safe shopping season is especially important, as brick and mortar stores hope to offset some of the losses incurred earlier this year.

Woodland Mall is offering different options to check everything off your gift list.

To make it easier, and safer, Woodland is offering contact-free pickup for online orders.

If you’re wanting to shop in-person, go earlier in the day, and on Mondays through Wednesdays when it’s less busy. 

Woodland is also extending its hours, and some of the anchor stores like JCPenney, Macy's and Von Maur are opening earlier than the mall itself. 

Some of its stores are also offering personal shopping, you can schedule a less busy time to meet one-on-one with a stylist.

On top of mask-wearing and social distancing, the mall is also enforcing capacity limits, and has increased cleaning procedures and hand sanitizing stations.

“About 20% of our retailers here are locally owned franchises, or small businesses," said Cecily McCabe, the Woodland Mall marketing director. "And so we're really hoping that people will come out and support them and shop with our local businesses here directly, but then also enjoy all of our shopping opportunities, and our opportunity to visit with Santa this year as well.”

Speaking of Santa, visits at Woodland Mall are either virtual or by appointment only. And there’s no sitting in his lap this year.

They’re taking temperatures beforehand, only allowing one family at a time. And it will be a contact-less experience, with plexiglass in between.

Keep in mind, the CDC recommends shopping online sales, the day after Thanksgiving and leading up to the holidays. The CDC also suggests using contactless services, like curbside pick-up, and shopping in open-air markets staying 6-feet away from others.

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