CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Black Friday is less than 36 hours away and several major retailers will be open for shoppers. At Academy Sports + Outdoors in Concord, safety is being kept top of mind as employees prep for the beginning of the holiday shopping season.
As soon as customers walk through the front doors of the sporting goods store, they’re greeted with a sanitation station and signage reminding shoppers that face coverings and social distancing are required in the building. Masks are available for customers who are without one.
“We are definitely following CDC guidelines in addition to the local community,” said Jamar King, the Academy Sports + Outdoors store director. “As you go around the building right now, we do have signage talking about social distancing and things like that.”
There were plenty of holiday shoppers at the store Wednesday night. Emily Dellinger, one of the customers at the business, said she and her friends were hoping to avoid large crowds that could be present at stores in the coming days.
When asked if she was intentionally shopping before Black Friday, Dellinger responded, “Yes, to beat the crowds so we’re not out with anybody getting the virus.”
King said mask compliance hadn’t been an issue at his store. Shoppers in the business Wednesday night appeared to be following the CDC guidelines regarding the pandemic.
“Everybody in here so far that I’ve seen has their mask on,” said Dellinger.
When asked if capacity at the store would be restricted on Black Friday, King responded, “As the day progresses, again safety is a big, big, big concern with us so we’ll make that decision if necessary.”
He said he does not foresee the store employees having any issues related to the pandemic on Friday.
“As long as customers are following the signage and we’re able to control the foot traffic, which I feel confident we can do based on our customer count versus employees, I don’t think there’s gonna be a problem,” said the store director.
Customers who spoke to WBTV Wednesday night said they were happy with the way other shoppers have been handling the pandemic in public retail spaces.
“I don’t really go out much, but when I do everybody’s got their mask on and I feel everybody’s taking care of what they need to do,” said shopper Andrew Coffey.
Academy Sports + Outdoors in Concord will be closed for Thanksgiving. The store will be open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Black Friday.