HONOLULU (KHON2) — The holiday shopping season has already kicked off. Some businesses are expecting it to get even busier as Christmas gets closer.
Many are familiar with long lines and long waits that have become synonymous with holiday shopping over the years. However, the coronavirus pandemic has made holiday shopping much more complicated in 2020. Although stores have implemented new COVID-19 safety rules, people may feel more uncomfortable in long lines and in big crowds.
Tina Yamaki, president of Retail Merchants of Hawaii, said those who want to avoid the holiday shopping crowds need to get their Christmas shopping done early.
“The closer you get to Christmas, the more people are panic-shopping so you know they’re all earlier, they’re staying out later,” said Yamaki. “For right now though, because we’re still in early December, the best times to shop are you know during the weekday.”
Since stores can only allow up to 50 percent capacity, Yamaki says shoppers should expect to wait in some kind of line. However, Mondays and Tuesdays are the least crowded days at most malls and stores and people likely won’t find a line in the morning, when stores have just opened.
However, some stores are implementing something new.
“We’ve heard some stores actually doing by appointment only. So, you have to make an appointment in order to get into the store, especially on the weekends. We’ve heard where other stores, they’ll tell you a time to come back. It’s kind of like when you are waiting for a restaurant type of thing,” Yamaki explained.
For those who don’t feel comfortable going inside a store or mall, some malls have created pick-up areas, where store attendants will bring out the item to a person’s car. Yamaki says some malls may be adding extra stalls for the holiday season.
Small businesses are also preparing for a bump in customers. For Na Mea Hawaii at Ward, the owner said weekends are already busy.
“It’s quiet here until midday and then it’s usually quiet in the afternoons,” said Maile Meyer, Na Mea Hawaii Founder.
Stores like Na Mea Hawaii, which sells books, clothing and jewelry made by local artists, even has an option for those that want to browse the store without a crowd. Na Mea Hawaii allows people to make an appointment for private shopping.
People can even schedule a time when they can have the whole store to themselves. More information can be found on their website.
“We want to get people who feel safe in that environment the chance to see us and talk with us, so we just want to slow it down and give people more of what we are used to doing on a daily basis.”Maile Meyer, Na Mea Hawaii Founder
Yamaki says the pandemic has changed a lot of things and there is no guarantee as to what will happen this holiday shopping season.
“So, everything that, you know, used to be a routine, or what people were normally. It’s Christmas time, so we know this is when the crowds are and this is what we need to look for. And this is our crazy time. Well with this pandemic, there is no norm right now,” Yamaki said.