This holiday season, you may or may not opt to just Amazon everything. For some of us, the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping is part of the charm of celebration. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise or hold steady, each state has certain standards in place to protect holiday shoppers. While being reasonably careful due to COVID-19, there are still ways to enjoy shopping for the holidays.
Holiday Shopping: COVID-19 Safety
With almost all retail stores still open this holiday season, venturing out (masked up and sanitized) will probably happen at some point. Big brands have made public assurances to ease shoppers’ minds. Here’s what they’re doing to keep you safe:
Walmart Holiday Shopping
This discount retail giant announced back in September their thorough plans to accommodate holiday shoppers. Their efforts include an increase of 20k employees for their eCommerce fulfillment centers. This addresses the reality that many more people will be shopping online. They are also incentivizing early shoppers with free gifts. Like most other retailers, they require face coverings, have plastic sneeze guard barriers at all points of sale, are managing customer flow/traffic and have reduced store hours for increased sanitizing procedures.
Target Holiday Shopping
Beating out Walmart, Target already had a holiday shopping plan outlined in late July. They detailed the following steps to keep customers safe:
- Extended savings to reduce crowd size for specific dates.
- Thanksgiving Day closures.
- Making fresh and frozen grocery items available for delivery and order pick up.
Of course, they also have their typical COVID-19 safe shopping procedures in place, which include mandatory face masks, entry checkpoints with free masks, free hand sanitizers and sanitizers throughout the store, sneeze guards and special shopping hours for high-risk customers.
Costco Holiday Shopping
Costco is a place of plenty and a go-to for many families who are stocking up for everything from Christmas trees to holiday menus. Their coronavirus response for safe shopping was updated on December 1. Various Costco warehouses in the U.S. and Puerto Rico have a few different rules, which basically boil down to the following:
- Safe shopping hours for people 60 years of age and older.
- Priority access policies for first responders and healthcare workers.
Some departments (Hearing Aids, Optical, floral and jewelry) may be limited or closed. Masks are required, although they do allow reusable shopping bags. Their popular food courts have limited menu options and they do have signs to promote social distancing while shopping.
Best Buy Holiday Shopping
In late October, Best Buy announced its holiday shopping standards. They have a long list of safety measures that they are enacting to protect people while they shop in-person. These include:
- Social distancing.
- All store pick up orders are now curbside pickup orders, to minimize the number of people in a store.
- Employees receive daily wellness checks and PPE.
- Interactive displays include COVID-19 standard directions and signs as well as free sanitizer wipes.
- They have contingency plans in place to limit store hours, reduce occupancy or move to curbside-only pickup in the event of local outbreaks.
- All new gaming consoles are only being sold online, at BestBuy.com, and not in-store.
Mandatory facemasks, routine cleaning, sanitizing stations and signs to encourage social distancing are all part of their regular COVID-19-conscious safety procedures.
Holiday Shopping Tips
The Mayo Clinic has issued a series of “dos and don’ts” related to COVID-19 and holiday shopping. Here’s what they recommend:
- Only shop at stores that are actively enforcing mask-wearing.
- Use hand sanitizer regularly, both in a store and in between stores.
- When possible, use touch free payment options.
- Practice social distancing.
- Don’t go to stores that aren’t limiting the number of customers.
As you can see, most of these expert recommendations align with what conscientious brands are already doing.
Of course, if any of these standards (or concern about your own health) make you nervous, you can always just shop online. Even then, there are some safety considerations to keep in mind.
Gift Shopping Online
You may still be shopping at one of the retailers listed above, or a different store, but doing so online. This can be a great way to stay in home or enjoy curbside pickup, which alleviates the need to walk in a store. That said, cybersecurity experts anticipate a significant hike in cyberattacks because of the anticipated uptick in online shopping. Here’s how you can stay safe when you’re shopping online:
- Only shop on secure sites from a safe browser.
- Use secure payment options.
- Be sure your antivirus software is updated.
- Don’t click on ads.
- Use good password hygiene (don’t use the same password for everything and be sure it is complex enough).
- Only use official retailer apps to shop online.
When in doubt: err on the side of safety. The last thing you want this holiday season is to deal with identity theft or any kind of theft. Smart online shopping is pretty simple. Just take the steps to make sure you’re covering all of your bases.
Tech Gift Ideas
Want to know what the hottest gifts are this season? Tech or non-tech, read this blog to get our Gadget Genie Holiday 2020 Shopping Recommendations.
Give the Gift of Repair
Whether you buy a tech gift or know of someone who needs tech repair, covering a cracked screen or refurbishment may be the creative gift idea you’ve been waiting for. And we’re the best ones to help. Even if you don’t live locally, we take mail-in orders for tech repair and have the skills to recover everything from motherboards to cracked screens. If you are buying new tech for holiday gifts this year, be sure to recycle your old tech in the right way. For inquiries about any and all of the above, contact us.