2021 wedding trends shift to accommodate coronavirus pandemic

When COVID-19 came and changed everyone’s lives in March, it took down engaged couples’ original wedding and honeymoons plans along with everything else, making many soon-to-be newlyweds postpone their nuptials to later in the year, or even into 2021.



a person that is standing in the grass: Getty Images


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Since the way we navigate life has changed due to the pandemic, it only makes sense that wedding trends fall in line too. Wedding planning website The Knot released its projected trends for 2021 weddings, dubbing it the “year of intentionality.” While past trends typically fall somewhere between color palettes and cakes, those forecasted for next year were born out of the pandemic.

Welcome boxes filled with hand sanitizer, masks, favors and other knick-knacks will likely replace the welcome bags of the past for some couples, according to The Knot. Sentimental table tops with custom linens, diverse vendors, brunch weddings and nanomoons — trips to a local destination or someplace within driving distance — are among some of next year’s trends as well.

Mismatched seating and living room decor also are projected to be elements in many weddings next year.

Tents are expected to be a top request from couples as outdoor weddings are more common during the pandemic.

Lori Stephenson, owner and principal of LOLA Event Productions in Chicago, says outdoor weddings are of the essence to her clients right now.

“The biggest thing for us is that if people are downsizing or planning for something in the more immediate future, that outdoor space is even more important than ever,” Stephenson said. “Any sort of option that we can have to provide some fresh air and circulation for an event is something that people feel a little bit more comfortable with.”



a tent in the room: Outdoor wedding reception in tent


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Outdoor wedding reception in tent

And just because couples have to scale back their wedding doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to spend less; rather, they’re finding different places to put the funds and make specific elements of their celebrations more special and elaborate.

The Knot expects to see couples using florals in a more dramatic and sentimental way in 2021.

“Weddings I’ve done that we’ve paired back … we’ve really been doing really beautiful over-the-top flowers,” Stephenson said. “I’ve not only put flowers on tabletops, but we can put decor on a staircase, or a fireplace, or do really beautiful installations around a sweetheart table, really beefing that part of it up. … So they’re still kind of finding some splurges in other places. I think that gives clients — who were originally planning for something bigger — maybe this is the silver lining.”

One in three weddings happen on a weekday, according to the report from The Knot, and the brand projects an uptick in weekday weddings next year.

Many Saturdays in 2021 for Stephenson and her team are already booked due to postponements from this year, she said. She’s urging couples to take advantage of having their celebration on another day.

“I have gotten so

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Japan sees spike in suicides among young women as pandemic drags on

But Japan and South Korea are among the few countries to issue current data on suicides, with most countries taking a year or two to issue their numbers. Experts worry that the emerging trends in the two countries could be an early warning for the rest of the world as the pandemic and lockdowns take a toll on mental health.

Research conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the summer found that 1 in 10 respondents had seriously considered suicide the previous month, twice the rate observed in 2018. The rate among those 18-24 years old in the survey was 1 in 4, the CDC reported. There is also some evidence that the rate of suicides among U.S. military personnel has risen.

In Britain, a study issued in October by British Journal of Psychiatry found that thoughts of suicide had increased during the first six weeks of lockdown, with women and young adults the worst affected.

The total number of suicides in Japan rose to 2,153 in October, the highest monthly count in more than five years, with the greater increase among women, according to government statistics. Between July and October, at least 2,810 Japanese women took their own lives, nearly 41 percent more than the 1,994 who died by suicide in the same period last year, the reports showed. Preliminary data by age group shows the sharpest rises in people younger than 29.

Japan already has the highest rate of suicide among the Group of Seven industrialized nations — just ahead of the United States — and is the only country among the seven where suicide is the leading cause of death among 15- to 34-year-olds, the Ministry of Health reported.

South Korea has a higher suicide rate than Japan, with deaths by suicide peaking at nearly 16,000 in 2011, the highest per capita rate among industrialized nations. While the overall numbers show a decline in suicides this year, there has been a 43 percent increase in suicides by women in their 20s in the first half of 2020 compared with the same period last year.

Calls to hotlines

In Japan, teenagers and young women have flooded suicide helplines and have called for help on Twitter and in online forums, according to social service groups.

Jiro Ito, the head of OVA, a nonprofit group trying to prevent suicide, said the people reaching his group’s helpline tend to have one thing in common: loneliness.

“Under coronavirus, we have less communication and fewer chances to talk to people,” he said.

“If you have a family, you spend more time with them, and if you have a good relationship with your family, you’d be happy,” he continued. “But you don’t have a good relationship, and you’re shut off from the outside world, that would only add to your sense of loneliness and stress.”

Men accounted for 70 percent of the 20,169 suicides in Japan last year.

Historically, suicide was seen in Japan as a way to

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A gift the pandemic can never take from us

This column is part of an end-of-year faith commentary series called Risk Hope. Get weekly roundups of the project in your email inbox by signing up for the Living Our Faith newsletter.

Daily trips to the gym. Regular jaunts to the barber. Impromptu outings with friends for salad and ice cream. The State Fair of Texas.

The pandemic has robbed me of treasured routines.

Masks, no masks, social distancing, hand sanitizing gel, no gel available, fear of hugs, deep sadness over no hugs — these are the realities of my life (and for all of you, doubtless).

This existence, I must tell you, leaves me very cheesed off (angry in British church slang). And when the latest numbers arrive in my email news summaries — the daily gut punch — I struggle with feelings of guilt for feeling any self-pity at all.

Tens of millions of cases of COVID-19 worldwide; millions of cases in the United Sates. And 1 million deaths worldwide, including more than 250,000 deaths in the U.S. alone.

The cruel, hellish, tragic and totally horrific disproportionate impact on Black and brown lives, on the elderly, on diabetics and others with underlying health conditions leaves me heartbroken.

And, the lies and half-truths and total disconnects from reality by so many in positions of power and among some sectors of the citizenry, well, it makes me question the collective sanity.

Worst of all, perhaps — and I want to be wrong about this — I fear the pandemic won’t end when 2020 ends.

Cheesed off is mild for how I feel many days. Truth told, short but potent visits of episodic melancholy are frequent guests in my life. None of us is wired for pandemics, but extroverts especially aren’t prepared. I am not.

And yet. It was during a dark period — following another sacrifice dictated by coronavirus — that I was reminded of the gift that is eternal, which can’t be stopped by the pandemic.

It is when I am deeply silent, surrendered and, candidly, feeling defeated, that I am reminded of the truth of this gift for all persons.

Some faith traditions call it presence. Others call it infinite loving consciousness. Many in the Christian tradition call it the Holy Spirit.

I prefer the term divine indwelling.

As a senior pastor and a person of faith, I can only share with you my experience and tell you about so many others who have shared with me their discovery, this sharing of our divine nature with the loving creator, God who loves God’s image in us forever, even during a global health emergency.

I am referring to the message of divinization where we are told in Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew scripture, that we are “created in the image of God.”

Theology textbooks on this topic alone could fill a library wing, but I think a consensus has emerged in the Western church. Image is our objective DNA that makes us creatures of God

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Hurt by pandemic, local retailers say shopping local this season more important than ever

Small business owners feeling the pain of the pandemic in their bottom lines say it’s never been more important to shop local this holiday season.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are considered the biggest shopping events of the year for big-box and online retailers, but local entrepreneurs look forward to the day wedged between the two — Small Business Saturday.

The event encourages shopping local and supporting independent operations, and it’s usually one of the busiest days of the year for these retailers.

While the day is important, local business owners said they were counting on strong sales all season to help them survive in a marketplace where everything has changed.

Scott Starbuck, who opened City Soles in Wicker Park in 1995, said sales at his shoe store were down exponentially because of the coronavirus — and he worries they won’t be bouncing back soon.

“We won’t even be able to see recovery until a vaccine [is available] and we can say things like, ‘Socially distancing was so last year,’” said Starbuck, who imports his footwear from Europe and South American and also sells jewelry and other handmade goods from local artists.

Starbuck, a member of the board of retailers for the Wicker Park-Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, said sales at many shops are down 60 or 70%.

“I mean a victory story is being down only 50% right now,” Starbuck said.

Scott Starbuck opened City Soles in Bucktown in 1995.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The fourth quarter is the busiest time of year for most businesses, with many counting on traffic from holiday shopping to keep them afloat.

This year is expected to be different and they’re trying to adapt. Many owners said they are ditching shopping bags for shipping boxes as customers continue to flock to the internet for gifts.

Lindzi Shanks and Kat Connor, co-owners of Nibbles and Nosh and XO Marshmallow in Rogers Park, have converted the closed dining area of their brunch spot to a packaging and shipping center to complete the hundreds of orders of gourmet marshmallows and hot cocoa.

“While the cafe saw a decrease in visitors, online we saw a massive increase, so by making that pivot we’ve been able to not only keep all our employees that worked in the cafe, but [also] hire more people just to keep up with online sales,” Shanks said.

Lindzi Shanks, left, and Kat Connor, right, owners of Nibbles and Nosh and XO Marshmallow, have seen an increase in online sales amid the pandemic.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Renee Matsushima and Michael Trailer, the mother-son duo who own Tee Mart Decorated Apparel in Rogers Park, are also putting an emphasis on shipping their products during the pandemic.

The pair opened their store a week before Gov. J.B. Pritzker imposed the state’s stay-at-home order in March.

“We had to really shift gears almost instantly,” Trailer said. “We switched over to Etsy and we did a lot of sales there.”

The majority of Tee Mart’s sales come from online orders now, but

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Black Friday shopping in stores craters 52% during pandemic as e-commerce sales surge

  • Traffic at stores on Black Friday fell by 52.1% compared with last year, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions.
  • “Shoppers are spreading out their shopping throughout the holiday season because of concerns about social distancing and the pandemic,” said Brian Field.
  • Online spending on Black Friday surged 21.6% to hit a new record, according to data from Adobe Analytics.



a man standing next to a building: Shoppers walk past an Apple Store at Franklin Park Mall during Black Friday. Shoppers go to stores to take advantage of Black Friday sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.


© Provided by CNBC
Shoppers walk past an Apple Store at Franklin Park Mall during Black Friday. Shoppers go to stores to take advantage of Black Friday sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Traffic at stores on Black Friday fell by 52.1% compared with last year, as Americans by and large eschewed heading to malls and queuing up in lines for shopping online, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions.

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For the six key weeks of the holiday season this year, traffic in retail stores is expected to be down 22% to 25% year over year, an earlier forecast by Sensormatic Solutions said.

“We knew Black Friday [traffic] was going to be down, we just didn’t know how much it was going to be down,” said Brian Field, a senior director of global retail consulting at Sensormatic Solutions. “Shoppers are spreading out their shopping throughout the holiday season because of concerns about social distancing and the pandemic.”

The Covid pandemic has pushed a record number of consumers to shop online, instead, as retailers place many of their top holiday doorbuster deals online and encourage shoppers to buy on the web and then pick up purchases curbside. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommended that Americans shop online the day after Thanksgiving.

Many malls looked bleak, and parking lots were more empty than full, across much of the country during the early hours of the morning Friday. Some reported traffic picking up later in the day, especially at outlet and open-air shopping centers, as some consumers felt more comfortable heading out. The warmer weather that blanketed much of the country also helped.

The typical peak time for shopping on Black Friday remained the same this year, hitting at about 2 p.m., Sensormatic Solutions said.

On Thanksgiving Day, when many retailers including Walmart and Target closed their stores this year due to the pandemic, traffic dropped 94.9% year over year, according to the firm. Week-to-date, traffic is down 45.2% across the U.S.

“Black Friday this year, from a traffic impact perspective, looked a lot like a typical Saturday after a Black Friday,” Field said.

Spending online on Black Friday this year surged 21.6% to hit a new record, according to data from Adobe Analytics, as consumers rang up $9 billion worth of purchases on the web the day after Thanksgiving.

That makes Black Friday 2020 the second-largest online spending day in history in the United States, behind Cyber Monday last year, Adobe said. Cyber Monday this year is slated to become the largest digital sales day ever, with spending reaching between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion, which would represent

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7 ways Black Friday shopping changed this year due to the pandemic, from sales starting online in October to empty stores



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AP

Black Friday looked different this year, and some are theorizing that it will never look the same again.

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The entire holiday shopping season was upended by the coronavirus pandemic, with sales that started earlier and were mostly online. Retail trade group the National Retail Federation said that nearly 69% of retailers that responded to a survey said they expected consumers to start their holiday shopping in October, and the sales have been going ever since.

The organization projected that overall holiday spending would be slightly down, at $997.79 per consumer, but 60% of shoppers in its survey said they planned to do at least some holiday shopping online, in a year when e-commerce has boomed. Analysts from eMarketer predicted that holiday spending this year would total about $1 trillion, with a slight decrease in in-store sales but a 35% jump in online sales.

Read more: Retailers are struggling to attract seasonal workers for what experts anticipate will be a ‘tough holiday season’

The analysts predicted that as shoppers avoid crowds and are drawn in with monthlong sales, e-commerce spending would make up about $190 billion of the $1 trillion in holiday spending. So far, stores look mostly empty, while it remains to be seen if the bulk of online orders will exceed the capacity of shipping companies and cause delays.

Here’s how Black Friday is different this year.

Black Friday is no longer just one day



graphical user interface, application, timeline: Amazon launched a separate page featuring celebrity-backed products during last year's Prime Day. Amazon


© Amazon
Amazon launched a separate page featuring celebrity-backed products during last year’s Prime Day. Amazon

Black Friday’s remaining connection to its namesake day is tenuous, at best. Sales arguably started with Amazon’s Prime Day in October, which itself was spread across two days. Other stores like Walmart responded with similar sales, kicking off the holiday shopping bonanza in a year of huge e-commerce growth.

“I don’t even know if I’d call it Black Friday anymore,” Boston Consulting Group’s head of retail, Nate Shenck, told Business Insider. Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, traditionally three of the biggest Black Friday sellers, each opted to spread deals across the entire month of November, instead of concentrating them on the day after Thanksgiving.

A major change from previous years was spreading sales across the month instead of packing them into one day. Deals were be divided by type of product, so electronics shoppers wouldn’t have to fight with home-goods buyers and parents picking up last-minute toys.

No more lining up in the middle of the night 



a crowd of people walking on a city street: Getty Images


© Getty Images
Getty Images

Black Friday sales previously crept earlier and earlier, into Thanksgiving itself as some stores released the biggest sales before dinner was even over. This year, though, most retailers reversed that trend, and may have ended it for good.

Most stores did not open on Thanksgiving this year, even the ones that traditionally have like Walmart and Target. On Black Friday, they opened slightly earlier than normal, but midnight openings were rare. JC Penney, Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and

Read more

Ways Black Friday is different this year due to coronavirus pandemic


Black Friday
looked different this year, and some are theorizing that it will never look the same again.

The entire holiday shopping season was upended by the coronavirus pandemic, with sales that started earlier and were mostly online. Retail trade group the National Retail Federation said that nearly 69% of retailers that responded to a survey said they expected consumers to start their holiday shopping in October, and the sales have been going ever since.

The organization projected that overall holiday spending would be slightly down, at $997.79 per consumer, but 60% of shoppers in its survey said they planned to do at least some holiday shopping online, in a year when e-commerce has boomed. Analysts from eMarketer predicted that holiday spending this year would total about $1 trillion, with a slight decrease in in-store sales but a 35% jump in online sales.

Read more: Retailers are struggling to attract seasonal workers for what experts anticipate will be a ‘tough holiday season’

The analysts predicted that as shoppers avoid crowds and are drawn in with monthlong sales, e-commerce spending would make up about $190 billion of the $1 trillion in holiday spending. So far, stores look mostly empty, while it remains to be seen if the bulk of online orders will exceed the capacity of shipping companies and cause delays.

Here’s how Black Friday is different this year.

Black Friday is no longer just one day

Amazon prime day 2019

Amazon launched a separate page featuring celebrity-backed products during last year’s Prime Day.

Amazon


Black Friday’s remaining connection to its namesake day is tenuous, at best. Sales arguably started with Amazon’s Prime Day in October, which itself was spread across two days. Other stores like Walmart responded with similar sales, kicking off the holiday shopping bonanza in a year of huge e-commerce growth.

“I don’t even know if I’d call it Black Friday anymore,” Boston Consulting Group’s head of retail, Nate Shenck, told Business Insider. Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, traditionally three of the biggest Black Friday sellers, each opted to spread deals across the entire month of November, instead of concentrating them on the day after Thanksgiving.

A major change from previous years was spreading sales across the month instead of packing them into one day. Deals were be divided by type of product, so electronics shoppers wouldn’t have to fight with home-goods buyers and parents picking up last-minute toys.

No more lining up in the middle of the night 

black friday comparison



Getty Images


Black Friday sales previously crept earlier and earlier, into Thanksgiving itself as some stores released the biggest sales before dinner was even over. This year, though, most retailers reversed that trend, and may have ended it for good.

Most stores did not open on Thanksgiving this year, even the ones that traditionally have like Walmart and Target. On Black Friday, they opened slightly earlier than normal, but midnight openings were rare. JC Penney, Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and other were among the earliest, opening at 5 a.m.

Though deals were spread

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Online shopping takes center stage as Black Friday adjusts to the pandemic

A long line snaked across a packed parking lot at the Mission Valley Best Buy on Black Friday.

But shoppers in the queue weren’t waiting to get into the electronics store. They were waiting to pick up items they’d already purchased online.

The holiday shopping season has long swirled around Black Friday. And on the day after Thanksgiving, 2020, despite the pandemic’s continuing spread, it was clear people were getting their shopping in.

Many of them were just doing most of the work from home.

According to data from Adobe Analytics, online shopping hit a new Thanksgiving Day record, jumping 21.5% from last year to $5.1 billion. Adobe, which scans 80 percent of online transactions across the top 100 U.S. web retailers, forecast that online spending would hit $8.9 billion on Black Friday, a jump of 20% from last year.

Retail’s shift to a digital shopping cart was on full display at Fry’s Electronics off Interstate 15. The colossal store is known for its Black Friday crowds. Last year, a line of shoppers was eagerly waiting when the doors first opened.

Zach Zkeesee and Kat Branco outside Best Buy in Mission Valley

Zach Zkeesee and Kat Branco with their new 65-inch flat screen TV at Best Buy in Mission Valley.

(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

This year, the parking lot was nearly empty. Inside the store, the carts that were most full were being pushed by employees who were busy filling online orders.

A deal so good it’s worth rolling out of bed at 5 a.m. in the morning has long been a hallmark of Black Friday. But these days, many of those deals can be found online — some as early as October.

“Online is really the best way to shop these days,” said Ryan Wilson.

Under his arm, the 37-year-old was carting a 24-inch, curved Samsung computer monitor that he snagged for $99. Wilson found the monitor a couple of days ago and scheduled it for pick up on Friday morning.

The only thing he purchased inside the store was a bag of Cheetos.

A growing penchant for online shopping may have been a bit of a boon for retail spaces that were forced to contend with state regulations designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. San Diego County’s case totals place it in California’s most restrictive, “purple” tier, meaning retail stores are required to operate at or below 25 percent capacity.

At a Walmart in National City, employees at the door were using tablets to track how many people were moving in and out of the store. Curbside service was also a bigger part of this year’s shopping ritual.

Target Store customers in Mission Valley

Target customers in Mission Valley navigated between the store’s first and second level on Friday.

(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

At a Target in Eastlake, a community in East Chula Vista, employees sat at a table out front ready to deliver packages to vehicles parked in the store’s dedicated curb-side spots.

Other precautions were being taken as well. Many stores had hand sanitizer readily available as customers

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‘It’s definitely a different vibe’: Pandemic casts pall over in-person shopping on Black Friday | Local Business News

Online sales could enjoy a sharper uptick heading into the holidays. Black Friday is projected to generate $10 billion in online sales, a 39% bump from the year ago period, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures sales at 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers. And Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, will remain the largest online shopping day of the year with $12.7 billion in sales, a 35% jump.

Tulsan Drew Yamashita said he typically isn’t enticed by Black Friday bargains. But he and friend Lauren Katz joined a virtual waiting list at Lululemon, an athletic apparel store on Brookside, at about 8:50 a.m.

“We were driving by after the gym, so we stopped in,” he said. “We normally do most of the stuff online, but something is on sale here that we’d like to get.”

Major retailers have been offering discounts for more than a month to mitigate the post-Thanksgiving rush to stores.

Lindsay Rodgers of Tulsa and Brandie Loftis of Cushing began their shopping at 5 a.m. and were spotted at Utica Square several hours later.

“Smaller crowds, less stores open not as early,” Rodgers said, summing up the experience.

Both added they preferred shopping in-person.

“We’ll go home and do the online later,” Rodgers said.

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Black Friday in Palm Beach County quieter because of pandemic


With more people starting holiday shopping earlier and doing more online because of Covid, stores were quiet on Black Friday in Palm Beach County.

Kristina Webb

Jodie Wagner
 
| Palm Beach Post

WELLINGTON — The calendar said Black Friday, but the parking lots at retailers across Palm Beach County indicated it might as well have been a typical Saturday afternoon as shoppers seemingly opted for internet sales because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The day seen as the apex of the holiday shopping season was almost eerily quiet, and while some stores experienced a busier-than-usual Friday, visits by Palm Beach Post reporters to several area retailers showed a calmer, socially distanced Black Friday and consumers wary of in-person shopping.

More: Black Friday 2020: All the best Black Friday deals to shop on Apple, KitchenAid and more

At the Super Target on State Road 7 at Lantana Road south of Wellington, a modest line of customers stood 6 feet apart before the doors opened at 7 a.m. Friday. Those who entered were required to wear a mask, and only one of Target’s two main entrances was open for the first shoppers. 

Shoppers inside the store and other retail outlets visited Friday morning mostly kept their distance from others as recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to hamper the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

The regulated flow of consumers down popular aisles was a marked change from past years, when people would go elbow-to-elbow as they jockeyed for deals.

More: Black Friday 2020: What to expect this unusual shopping season

Kelly Ramsaran is among those who in the past would have been at Target when the store opened. It became a tradition for her family to head to the retailer after Thanksgiving dinner, with Ramsaran, her siblings and their families tracking down the best prices Target had to offer.

This year, she did almost all of her holiday shopping online.

“I almost went to Old Navy because it opened at midnight but changed my mind,” she said. 

The primary reason behind her decision to shop online: COVID-19.

More: Holiday sand sculpture near completion in West Palm Beach

“I didn’t trust that other people would be socially responsible,” Ramsaran said. “And I didn’t trust that the stores would have enough associates to help keep people distanced.”

Since stores reopened after closing this spring because of the pandemic, Ramsaran said she noticed a shortage in employees at retail stores. That falls in line with reports from national retailers that they have either laid off or furloughed employees because of the economic effects of the pandemic. 

Ramsaran is one of the 40 percent of holiday shoppers who started buying gifts earlier than usual this year, according to a National Retail Federation survey released this month. 

In that survey, 70 percent of holiday shoppers said they felt safe going into stores because of the precautions retailers are taking for COVID-19.

More: Chipotle to open fourth

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