BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As we move past Halloween, it’s full speed ahead toward the holidays. This means many people will start to think about holiday shopping.

We all know shopping early could save you major stress as the holidays draw near, but their year experts say it could also be safer.

With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday all on the horizon, it’s officially shopping season.

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“You can shop. Those stores will be open and it will be safe, but there will be restrictions in place. So, it’s not going to be the same experience,” Bill Thorne, of the National Retail Federation, said.

This year, the National Retail Federation is urging consumers to get their shopping done early.

“By shopping early, you’re avoiding any chance of a crowd,” Thorne said.

Thorne says, with many retailers already offering their best deals, there’s no real reason to wait.

If you were expecting a great discount on Black Friday, well you can get that any Friday because most of the retailers are saying they’re going to do Black Friday discounts every Friday through the holidays,” Thorne said.

It’s also important to remember to shop local, either in-person or online as many stores have perfected their online presence over the past several months.

“A lot of them had an okay online experience, now they have a really good online experience,” Thorne said.

If safety is a concern, Thorne says many retailers will be using the best practices learned during the early months of the pandemic.

“Just get it done,” Thorne said. “Check that box so you can focus on what’s really important this holiday season.”

In the past, the National Retail Federation says they’ve seen people taking advantage of the holiday deals to buy things for others as well as themself.

They’re predicting less of that this year, saying they expect most people will focus on buying things for others.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Sean Streicher

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