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Black Friday Temptation To Travel?

EDITOR, The Tribune.

BLACK Friday is one of the biggest shopping days in the United States, along with Cyber Monday and Super Saturday. In 2019, 84.2 million people shopped in stores on Black Friday and 37.8 million shopped on Thanksgiving Day. Retailers earned a combined $729.1 billion in 2019, up 4.1 percent or over $28 billion more than in the previous year, when shoppers dumped $700.7 billion in retail stores across the United States.

The four leading retailers are Wal-Mart, Costco, Target and Amazon. For Bahamians who typically go on the mad dash for those Black Friday deals, you can add BJ’s Wholesale Club and Sam’s Club to that list of popular retailers. Wal-Mart has already released its deals online to wet the appetite of American and Bahamian consumers. The popular PlayStation 5 Console is going for $499. Wal-Mart also has deals on its Samsung 4K TVs and the XB1 box Series X Consoles. I would estimate that thousands of Bahamians would make the annual trip to the US around Thanksgiving in order to catch those sweetheart deals. This year, however, there’s one slight problem: COVID-19 is wreaking havoc in Florida, where the overwhelming majority of Bahamians go to shop. Florida currently has 889,864 confirmed COVID-19 infections, with 17,559 casualties.

On Sunday, Florida recorded 10,100 new infections, which marked its highest daily total. On Monday, 4,600 new infections were registered. Yet despite the ongoing pandemic, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is adamant in not imposing lockdown measures to restrict the spread of the virus. Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis is once again urging Bahamians not to travel abroad “unless absolutely necessary.” However, judging by the defiance of the hardheaded Biminites who were reveling over the past weekend and by Bahamians in general when the borders were first opened in July, I am bracing for another COVID-19 surge, especially with the Winter season being upon us. And when this happens, I hope the Bahamian people won’t repeat history by scapegoating the competent authority for their reckless irresponsibility in jeopardising the economy and health of The Bahamas by their decision to travel to Florida for Black Friday.

KEVIN EVANS

Freeport, Grand Bahama.

November 17, 2020.

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