Walmart splits Black Friday into separate 'events' under COVID-19 revamp

One of the biggest retailers in the United States, Walmart, has made some big changes to how it will deal with Black Friday this year in light of the pandemic and the challenges it presents. Rather than having one big Black Friday shopping 'holiday,' the company says it will split the promotions up into three separate 'events' throughout November with various safety measures and other changes in place.READ: Target Black Friday safety plan detailed: What shoppers can expect

Black Friday as it typically exists is obviously incompatible with the US this year as the pandemic continues to claim lives and cases climb daily.

The greatest risk for contracting COVID-19 is being in close contact with an infected person, underscoring the need to socially distance and avoid large groups of people...including the kind that form in stores during the biggest retail shopping holiday of the year.

Walmart is one of the big retailers that has revealed its plan for Black Friday this year, including the changes consumers can expect in light of the pandemic. The biggest change at Walmart will involve the company holding three separate Black Friday events spread throughout November rather than one big post-Thanksgiving shopping day.

Walmart Black Friday event dates

The Black Friday deals will first arrive on the website, encouraging consumers to safely shop from the comfort of their own home. The sales will then 'continue' in the Walmart stores during these three events, which are scheduled for the following days and times:

Event 1:

- Online sales start November 4

- Store sales start November 7

Event 2:

- Online sales start November 11

- Store sales start November 14

Event 3:

- Online sales start November 25

- Store sales start November 27

Walmart will be allowing Black Friday shoppers to pick up their orders using the no-contact curbside pickup, which is arguably the second safest option following ordering the goods online. If you do insist on visiting a store yourself, though, Walmart says that its stores will open at 5AM on the in-store deals dates.

In-store COVID-19 safety plan

Customers can expect to queue up in a single line outside of the store, according to Walmart. 'Health Ambassadors' will be located outside of the doors to make sure shoppers put on masks before entering the store. Other associates will then pass the customers a pre-sanitized cart for shopping.

A limited number of shoppers will be allowed in the store at any given time, meaning everyone else will need to stand outside and wait. Likewise, shoppers will be required to shop down the right-hand side of aisles to help ensure that everyone maintains a distance from each other.

Walmart US executive VP Scott McCall said in a statement:

We've been very thoughtful as we planned this year's event. By spreading deals out across multiple days and making our hottest deals available online, we expect the Black Friday experience in our stores will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates.

Full details on each shopping event, including expected deals, can be found on Walmart's website here.