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Photos of Macy's nearly empty New York store on Black Friday compared to last year reveals how the coronavirus pandemic has destroyed in-person holiday shopping

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Black Friday 2019 at Macy’s in New York, versus Black Friday in 2020.

To understand how Black Friday 2020 compares to years past, one only needs to look at Macy’s New York flagship store. 

Every year, Macy’s sees thousands of shoppers flood its Manhattan store. The store’s Black Friday deals — typically kicking off after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade — are a symbolic start to the holiday shopping season across America. 

This year, however, things are very different. New York City’s holiday tourism business has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. Macy’s has rolled out a wealth of new safety precautions. Black Friday crowds are nonexistent. 

Read on to see just how different Macy’s looks on Black Friday 2020, compared to years past. 

This year, Macy’s did not open until the morning of Black Friday. macy's black friday 2020

Other major retailers, such as Walmart and Best Buy, did the same in an effort to make in-person shopping safer during the pandemic. macy's black friday

However, experts warned Business Insider that the strategy could backfire if it results in more people showing up all at once during the limited hours. macy's

Read more: Stores are reducing Black Friday sales hours this year but experts says that could actually make shopping less safe

That does not appear to be an issue at Macy’s. The New York Post reports that the New York City flagship had a line of just 30 people when it opened this morning. black friday macy's

Source: The New York Post

Inside the store, foot traffic was sparse. Macy's store during Black Friday in 2020 Macy’s store during Black Friday in 2020

Shoppers who did show up were required to wear masks. macy's black friday

Let’s compare this scene to Black Friday 2019. macy's black friday 2019

Last year, Macy’s opened its New York City flagship at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. macys 2019 thanksgiving

Hundreds of people crowded outside the store, surging inside when the doors opened. macy's 2019

To take a step back – 2019 was not seen as a particularly positive holiday shopping season for Macy’s. macy's 2019

Macy’s had a solid start to the holiday shopping season last year, and then saw sales slump as Christmas Day approached. macy's 2019

Source: Markets Insider

The New York Post said Macy’s flagship store was a “ghost town” on Black Friday last year. macy's 2019

Source: The New York Post

To be fair, Macy’s had a lot to live up to. Here are the crowds back in 2011: black friday shopping retail Bargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise at Macy’s on ‘Black Friday’ on November 25, 2011 in New York City

But let’s compare 2019’s so-called ghost town… macy's 2019

… with the store today. macy's 2020

The New York City store is likely being hit harder than other shopping centers across the US. Tourism has plunged in the city during the pandemic, resulting in the loss of many potential shoppers. boss baby macy's thanksgiving day parade The Boss Baby balloon is deflated as it ends its appearance during the modified Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. The balloons were in the sky and the marching bands took to the streets for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, but coronavirus restrictions meant it was without the throngs of people usually scrambling for a view.

Most retailers are also shifting sales online and extending Black Friday deals, making in-person Black Friday shoppers less important than in years past. In fact, some 80% of shoppers told The NPD Group early in the holiday season that they planned to shop online this year, with just 42% of all holiday shopping taking place in stores according to the market research firm. black friday macysNEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20: A man wearing a mask walks past a Black Friday sign displayed at Macy's Herald Square on November 20, 2020 in New York City. The pandemic has caused long-term repercussions throughout the tourism and entertainment industries, including temporary and permanent closures of historic and iconic venues, costing the city and businesses billions in revenue. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Read more: The best Macy’s Black Friday deals are now live