COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t stop Calgary shoppers on Boxing Day

The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop shoppers in Calgary and surrounding areas from the Boxing Day shopping tradition.

It was like any other year outside the Best Buy in northeast Calgary. A steady stream of laptops and big screen televisions were being hauled out to the busy parking lot.

“I would say it seems pretty much the same,” Best Buy store leader Cooper Holm said. “We had a ton of people out first thing this morning. We had a lineup of over 100 people.”

The store is only allowing 88 people in at at time. Holm said normal capacity is around 600.

“People are excited as they always are when they come to shop for Boxing Day. I think for many people it’s a tradition getting out there and seeing those deals and getting out there with your family. It’s been very positive,” Holm said.

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Read more: Alberta shoppers hit the malls to grab last-minute items before new COVID-19 restrictions kick in

“We only waited maybe 10 minutes. They were getting people through pretty quick,” Shopper Mark Calder said.

Boxing Day line up at north east Calgary Best Buy
Boxing Day line up at north east Calgary Best Buy. Carolyn Kury de Castillo/Global News

The other change this year at Best Buy is the opening time: The store normally opens on Boxing Day at 6 a.m. but this year the doors opened at 8 a.m.  But some savvy shoppers found Calgary stores that opened earlier.

“At 6 o’clock this morning I was at Walmart and bought a 55 inch TV for $300. Then I went to Home Depot because they had tools on for a good price for 75 per cent off so I went there and bought a table saw and a cordless grinder,” Perry Curtis said.

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Shoppers said a pandemic wasn’t about to prevent them from snagging great deals.

“I had the hand sanitizer and I have the mask and everything else, so no, I have no concerns,” said Shannon O’Day, who was shopping at Best Buy.

Others said the reduced numbers of people in the stores made shopping more civilized.

“Much better because there’s lots of workers to help you now. It’s actually really good,” Curtis said.

Read more: Alberta businesses react to new, tighter COVID-19 restrictions

Holm said the biggest difference shoppers would have noticed this Boxing Day was the reduced number of people inside the store because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Usually we have hundreds of people in the store and people are bumping shoulders. I think that’s the biggest change,” Holm said.

“I think another major difference is we have stretched out our Boxing Day very similar to what we did for Black Friday. So we’re really trying to encourage our customers to come sooner to avoid big crowds.”

At CrossIron Mills, just north of Calgary, people waited outside to be allowed in as the snow continued to fall. Some shoppers said with the individual stores limiting entry, people were forced to wait in the halls.

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The mall has electronic counters at all entrances and by early Saturday afternoon the mall was nearing the 15 per cent capacity limit, according to marketing director Eva Tran.

Tran said the mall was offering a number of ways shoppers could limit their time on site including the Virtual Line-Up management system and curbside pick-up

The parking lot at Chinook Centre was busy on Saturday as well.

Cadillac Fairview which operate Chinook Centre and Market Mall said in a statement this holiday season is “unlike any other.”

“At CF Chinook Centre and CF Market Mall, we’re focused on providing a safe and comfortable shopping environment and ensuring that our retailers can continue to operate during this challenging time.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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