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Northridge Mall prepares for Black Friday shopping rush

Northridge mall

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many things get accomplished during the past year, and holiday shopping is no exception.

Black Friday is just days away, and this year, people are opting out.

"Honestly not this year because of the pandemic," says Tiyanna Ruiz.

Tiyanna Ruiz and Tyler Padgett are out shopping early.

"Trying to beat the crowds, trying to stay away from as many big crowds as possible," says Padgett.

The cheer of holiday shopping has been exchanged with angst this year.

"It's a little stressful knowing that its in the middle of a pandemic you know, you never know how people are, so it's scary," says Ruiz.

Northridge Mall in Salinas is preparing for a slew of shoppers this weekend, and staff will be working with stores on crowd management.

They have protocol in place to monitor who is on the property inside and out to comply with local health orders. In a normal year, the mall sees about 16,000 customers daily during the holidays. With state restrictions, keeping capacity at 25% means a little more than 4,000 shoppers are able to walk the halls daily.

"If we see that we're getting close, then we can certainly ask people to wait by the entrance they are at until a certain number of guests come out," says Northridge Mall General Manager Susan Causey.

Tony Ortiz with Clasico Jewelers expects smaller crowds this Black Friday, but is hopeful for last minute shoppers.

"Those are the ones that primarily - the last four or five days - that's when we say the rush is here," says Ortiz.

Getting your photo with Santa this year will of course be different than normal. Instead of sitting on his lap, you'll be sitting on this bench in front of Santa and his presents. You're advised to make an appointment to prevent a line or visit with Santa virtually.

With many precautions in place for shoppers, there is hope this holiday season.

"Hopefully things get better as people start to take more precautions and what they need to do," says Ruiz.

Article Topic Follows: Central Coast
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Max Tarlton

Max Tarlton is a morning anchor at KION News Channel 5/46.

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