Black Friday leaves Andrea Hernandez breathless.
She’s worked the day after Thanksgiving at a mall shoe store in Los Angeles the last three years, spending her shift running back and forth, hauling sneakers from the stockroom to the waiting feet of customers — and trying to keep her cool when someone inevitably yells at her for disappearing too long.
For retail workers, Black Friday is, as Hernandez puts it, the “most dreaded day of the year.” But this year, the day they hate has also become one they fear.
With coronavirus infections rising across much of the United States, what is historically one of America’s busiest shopping days brings real risk. Some regions have established occupancy restrictions, including California, where the average number of new coronavirus cases has tripled in the last month alone. But even here, where safety rules are more stringent than in many states, workers are bracing for a high volume of shoppers and the danger that comes with the traffic.
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