MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Black Friday shoppers heading to stores this weekend will notice some changes. For instance, that traditional morning mad dash won’t be happening. Still, many places will be open, including the nation’s largest shopping mall, the Mall of America.

“It’s going to look different this year,” said Jill Renslow, the Bloomington mall’s senior vice president of business development. She says that the goal this year, as COVID-19 cases surge in the state, is to make sure the shopping experience is safe as possible.

“Our goal is to create a safe environment for our guests,” she said. “If they’re ready to come, if they’re comfortable, if they’re healthy, come and shop with us at the mall, otherwise we have alternatives this year.”

Renslow says Black Friday shoppers can get deals at their favorite stores online or pick up items via curbside.

“To be able to reserve or buy online and pick up in-store, you still get that instant gratification,” she said.

In order to enter the mall, guests will need to be wearing masks, Renslow says. Mall staff with be placed at entrances to make sure that everyone has a mask and is wearing it properly.

The mall will be operating at 50% capacity. Mall officials will monitor this by keeping track of the amount of vehicles entering parking ramps.

Due to Gov. Tim Walz’s recent order barring restaurants from serving people indoors, all food at the mall must be ordered to-go and eaten outside the mall.

“That means, bring it to your car or bring it off-site,” Renslow said. “You cannot eat inside Mall of America.”

The Mall of America opens Friday at 8 a.m. It will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Christiane Cordero