The holiday shopping season is now underway, and public health leaders are calling on both customers and businesses to take steps to protect themselves against the spread of COVID-19.
County health officer Drenda Niemann said, this year, it’s important for people to make a plan before they shop.
“It’s a typical Black Friday, when everybody goes out on Friday and shops, but what we’re hoping to see and what we need our residents to understand is, if you spread out your shopping instead of doing it all at once, that will help, because we want to reduce the crowds,” she said.
Lewis and Clark Public Health recommends shopping virtually or ordering ahead for a curbside pickup when possible. They suggest those who shop in person visit smaller, local businesses and wait for less busy times to avoid crowds at large stores.
Public Health leaders are asking businesses to help provide alternate shopping options if they can. Niemann said they advise stores to maintain 6 feet of distancing and, in some cases, to limit the number of people in a store at one time.
“It’s really risky right now; we have widespread disease happening in Lewis and Clark County,” she said. “Businesses can really help us out by just encouraging their shoppers to shop a little differently this year.”
Niemann also stressed the importance of wearing masks. If someone can’t wear a mask, she said businesses should find different ways of serving them, rather than have them come inside without one.
“Accommodate by offering up curbside delivery and things like that, so that people can still access the goods that they’re looking for, but in a more safe opportunity,” she said.
Public Health says it’s important to be cautious in the next few days, as some people may have been exposed to the virus over Thanksgiving.