Black Friday preparations at Pier Park look different this year due to COVID-19

Published: Nov. 26, 2020 at 9:34 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG) - The stores at Pier Park that usually like to get a jump start on Black Friday Deals by opening Thanksgiving evening, are staying closed this year. Except one. Paradise Found owner Yossi Biton said he knows that most other stores are closed today, but there’s a good reason why his shop stayed open.

“We need the business. Every day we need it, it’s important. We have bills to pay like everybody else. I know that everybody else is closed, but I’m trying to keep my employees to survive,” said Biton.

Biton said business has been okay, but not as great as last year due to COVID-19. He adds that he let his employees choose if they wanted to work today. Vacationers Marlena Kenny and Nicleas Bermudez said they did not know all the stores at Pier Park would be closed today, but say it’s the right thing to do.

“I think that they should be closed because it’s Thanksgiving and people are with their families and that’s what they’re supposed to be doing,” said Kenny.

“I think everyone deserves the time right now under these circumstances to just spend time with family,” said Bermudez.

Even mega stores like Target and Walmart made the decision to change their Thanksgiving hours this year. The normally bustling boardwalk is quiet, an indication of no special Black Friday preparations like in past years.

“We don’t do anything special, actually, this year because people are afraid to be in groups because of the Coronavirus. I think we’re going to have 50% less than last year,” said Biton.

Biton said with the new normal, he’s not expecting good business this Black Friday, but hopes he’s wrong.

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