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Health experts warn of Black Friday shopping risks, but many El Pasoans head to stores anyway

Black Friday Shoppers
Black Friday shoppers exit an El Paso store.

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- It's a day known for large crowds and long lines. This year during the pandemic, Black Friday did not look like it used to.

"I'd rather just come to the store, figure everyone's going to be inside staying at home," said El Paso shopper Derek Gill.

The Centers for Disease Control has categorized shopping among crowds this holiday season as a high-risk activity.

"You're really taking a risk that is, in my opinion, not justified for the amount of money you are going to save," said Dr. Armando Meza, chief of infectious diseases at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. "Believe me. Being sick is going to be a lot more expensive financially, emotionally and in your health than saving a couple of dollars."

There were about two dozen shoppers lined up outside Best Buy on the westside before doors opened Friday at 5 a.m. Social distancing floor markers had been pressed onto the ground to keep customers six feet apart. Large signs outside the building advertise curbside, contactless pickup.

"I don't think it's that bad," said El Paso shopper Dontae White. "Wear your mask. Stay away from people, a little distance, a little social distance."

The City of El Paso released its own guidelines ahead of Black Friday. It urged shoppers to stay home and take advantage of online deals instead.

"I don't like online shopping," Gill said. "Every time I put something in the cart, by the time I get everything and proceed to checkout, it's out of stock. I take precautions, not touch my face, wash my hands, keep my mask on."

For those who choose in-person shopping, city leaders encouraged families to limit the shopping outing to one person per household. Officials also encouraged shoppers to use contact-less payment options instead of cash or coins.

This year, one item in particular is bringing El Paso shoppers out.

"I'm looking for the PS5 or an Xbox if they have any," White said.

"I'm hoping that they have the PS5 here. I'm not sure they will. I've been hearing that they might not, but we came here just to try it and see if we could get it," said El Paso shopper Raymond Hunt.

Workers at Best Buy answered the million dollar question: the PlayStation 5 will only be sold online.

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Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.



  1. As I said on another article: “Look for a huge surge in cases in two weeks! All the idiots and imbeciles crowding the stores for “Black Friday” deals will get a deal they had not counted on or hoped for. The deal? A respirator!” It appears from this article some items are available on-line. Most things I wanted were “is-store only.” No thanks. Like my wife said, “No way, Jose!”

  2. They were warned. Now that the orange buffoon can no longer interfere with CDC operations; its once again a reliable source of information and we need to heed it.

  3. Except for jewelry and firearms, I can get most anything I want online. I prefer to go to the grocery store in person. i have seen these employee-purchasers picking fruits and veggies that were already on their last leg, in order to sell it off before they had to throw it out.

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