Some stores are closed for the holidays…and afterwards

With so many retail establishments hanging on by a stretched economic threat, this year's Black Friday is do or die.

No Christmas parade for Floyd County this year. Plans for a “reverse parade” where the floats and displays would be parked in the lots at the high school and elementary facility so parade “watchers” could drive by and see them were cancelled because of crowd size limitations imposed by the governor and apparent lack of interest in participants.

In New York City, Macy’s lavish Thanksgiving Day parade was a made-for-TV event without marching bands and far fewer large balloons or floats who traveled just one block near the iconic department store in downtown Manhattan for the cameras. Much of what TV viewers saw were previously videotaped episodes and not actual events of the day.

On TV, viewers saw The Washington Football Team stomp the Dallas Cowboys 41-16 before a small audience in Texas — a win that gives the DC team once known as the Redskins the conference — with a 4-7 record.

At airports, nearly 1.1 million people passed through airport checkpoints around the country on Wednesday, the highest totals since March 16 in the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic — more than desired by the Centers for Disease Control officials to urged people to stay home and not travel to spend the holidays with loved ones because doing so should spur even more infections of the disease that is spiraling out of control again.

While 1.1 million meant far more people than medical experts felt safe, the total was less than half the 2.6 million who passed screening just a year ago. In the next couple of weeks, we may see an even higher spike because of the 50 million Americans that the AAA said hit the road during this Thanksgiving weekend.

President-elect Joe Biden, in a holiday message, called on the nation to remember the 262,000-plus who have died during the pandemic urged people to remain at home as much as possible, like he and future First Lady Jill were doing at their home.

“We might not be able to join our hands around a table with our loved ones, but we can come together as a nation,” the president-elect said. “I know better days are coming.”

The hope for “better days,” however, took a hit with an admission of pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca that its proposed vaccine may not be 90 percent effective, as promoted, but 70 percent or even less because of problems in the way they tested.

Two other vaccines are more expensive and more difficult to distribute and store and none, have yet, gained the approval of the Food and Drug Administration.

New regulation imposed by Gov. Ralph Northam in Virginia now limits crowds to 25 or less, indoors or outside, and shortened hours for serving of alcohol.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolfe shut down liquor sales in bars and restaurants the night before Thanksgiving — one of the biggest bar nights on normal years.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose limits on religious services led to a midnight decision by the Supreme Court Wednesday blocking those limits.

Cuomo slammed the decision Thursday, who noted the ruling was “not final” but was sent back to an appeals court that favored the limits for reconsideration.

Churches that have ignored limits with ministers who said “God will prevail” ran into problems with breakouts of COVID-19 and some deaths, including two of ministers who called the pandemic “a hoax.”

On the Friday after Thanksgiving — Black Friday for many retail establishments that need heavy sales to try and put them into the black financially after a disastrous year — new limits also can mean limited chances of economic recovery.

This year’s “Black Friday” includes the demise of Farmers Supply in Floyd. Black Friday is the last day the store will be open and has been conducting a going out of business sale for several weeks. Those who venture out to malls like Roanoke’s Valley View will find stores that used to there gone, including Finks. The mall declared bankruptcy reorganization earlier this month.

At our home, I will venture out on this Black Friday to get some Tums and Excedrin for wife Amy and, perhaps, have some coffee at the reopened Blue Ridge Diner, now owned by the guy who made Joe’s Diner in Blacksburg a favorite breakfast spot.

We stopped being part of the Black Friday madness in the 1990s, when we spent Thanksgiving Day in New York, watching the Macy’s parade, and the Friday that followed packed among the mob that demonstrated consumerism at its worst.

This year, we will forego gifts, Christmas cards and even a tree for the holidays. We might buy a needed replacement fridge, if Congress comes through with a long-delayed stimulus check, but we don’t count on the odds favoring that happening.

With Santa Claus not appearing in the cancelled Christmas parade in Floyd this weekend, the spirit of the holiday may be a victim of COVID-19.

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