If you participate in this common holiday event, your risk for COVID-19 multiplies

Since the coronavirus pandemic made its way into our lives back in March, the seasons and holidays have been met with restrictions. Spring felt like a minute where families resorted to Zoom Easter Sunday gatherings. Memorial Day and Labor Day were less partying and more creative, and the crowded beaches of summer were maybe not as crowded this year.

With Halloween around the corner, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised avoiding higher risk activities like trick-or-treating or haunted hayrides.

Candy chutes are replacing traditional door knocks in some parts of the country, and while Halloween isn’t exactly canceled, it’s going to feel a lot different just like everything else this year, including one of the biggest shopping days in the country: Black Friday.

As the holiday season creeps closer and closer, shopping at crowded stores has been listed as a higher risk activity by the CDC. Other traditional Thanksgiving events such as parades and attending large indoor gatherings with people not from your household have also been labeled as higher risk activities and people should avoid these events in order to help prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC warns. Even the annual Turkey Trot should be avoided, per the organization.

“Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together,” the CDC says on its website. “Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.”

In order to avoid over-crowding and make shopping safer, online shopping is expected to take an even bigger role than normal. While Cyber Monday basically starts even earlier than the actual day, retailers are preparing to shift customers to shop online earlier than before with deals coming from Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon in October, CNBC reported.

From the report:

“Retailers from Amazon to Target are trying to nudge Americans to start holiday shopping sooner and avoid crowds by extending their Black Friday deals. They’re also offering sales online and through smartphone apps rather than just in-store. Several major retailers, including Walmart and Best Buy, have said they’ll start deals in October. Amazon confirmed it will have its Prime Day deals kick off at midnight PT on Oct. 13 and continue through Oct. 14. And Target announced its own programming: a promotional event dubbed Target Deal Days on the same two days.”

Other stores such as Home Depot plan to offer two months of Black Friday deals, the company announced.

“For the first time ever, our Black Friday prices will be available throughout the holiday season. Savings will start in early November and last through December, both in-store and on homedepot.com. Say goodbye to one day of frenzied shopping and enjoy Black Friday savings all season long without the stress and crowds,” a blog post read.

Be sure to get the shopping in early.