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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Advice To North Carolinians On Black Friday: Avoid The Crowds, Wear A Mask

mask shopping
Nickolay Romensky, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

Health officials in North Carolina are urging shoppers to avoid the crowds on Black Friday and take precautions while out shopping.

Officials are worried that the large crowds attracted to Black Friday deals could spread the coronavirus, causing a spike in cases. Guidance out of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services advises shoppers to buy online and take advantage of curbside pickup services. Mecklenburg County also warned shoppers to be careful.

“If you go to a store and it looks crowded at all, please just avoid it and go back to it later,” said Mecklenburg County Deputy Health Director Raynard Washington.

If shoppers must visit a store, state health officials suggest going during off hours and limiting how many items they touch inside the store. Shoppers are also encouraged to stay six feet apart from other customers and use hand sanitizer before entering a store and after leaving it.

“As we go into the shopping season for the holidays, make sure we are not overcrowding our spaces,” said North Carolina Health Secretary Mandy Cohen. “Masks are important, as is distance.”

Retail stores are limited to 50% capacity and employees and customers must wear face masks.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest executive order requires stores of more than 15,000 square feet to have a designated employee outside enforcing mask usage for customers.

If a shopper enters a store and refuses to wear a mask and also refuses to leave, they can be fined and charged with trespassing.

The executive order goes into effect on Wednesday at 5 p.m. and expires on Dec. 11.

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