By JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The Black Friday holiday shopping tradition, known for a frenzy of big doorbuster deals starting on Thanksgiving day, will look very different this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of the crowds fighting to get the best sale, several major retailers are closing their doors on Thanksgiving for the first time in years. Walmart, Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods and several others have announced plans to remain closed this Thanksgiving and instead are giving customers an early start to holiday deals online.

“Historically, deal hunting and holiday shopping can mean crowded events, and this isn’t a year for crowds,” Target said in its corporate blog.

“This year more than ever, a joyful holiday will be inseparable from a safe one, and we’re continuing to adjust our plans to deliver ease, value and the joy of the season in a way that only Target can,” said CEO Brian Cornell in a statement.

With more stores closing for the holiday for safety precautions, there will be a bigger focus on digital sales, starting earlier in November than ever before.

“This year, we expect retailers to get creative and host online doorbusters, potentially with flash sales and online queues to try and mimic the in-store experience,” said RetailMeNot shopping and trends expert Sara Skirboll.

She continued, “We’ll also see many of these retailers offering earlier offers in the season, many already started, and sales spread across multiple days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”

Several retailers are offering curbside pickup and contactless checkout options. For those heading into the store, customers can expect masks to be required and single-file socially distanced lines to enter or check out.

Here are Skirboll’s tips for shopping safely and strategically on Black Friday:

– Bring your own anti-bacterial wipes and use the sanitizing stations that you can find set up at nearly every store now. After you touch anything, make sure to snag some and wipe your hands.

– Shop as early in the day as possible. During the early hours, there will likely be fewer shoppers and the store will be at its cleanest at the start of the day.

– Use Apple Pay or contactless payment options via your phone when possible.

– The typical shopping cart is about 3 feet long, so as a rule of thumb, make sure you have at least two shopping charts distance between you and any other shoppers to keep socially distanced.

– One simple hack I’m loving is to put your cellphone inside of a Ziploc bag. Our phones are high-touch items for us, we use them all day long, and most people don’t clean them that often. By covering the phone with a plastic bag, you can still type and take calls, and it won’t come in contact with any germs or surfaces in the store.

Plan ahead by checking out the list below of which stores are closed on Thanksgiving, as well as Black Friday sales plans:

Stores closed for Thanksgiving and Black Friday plans

Walmart

One of the country’s biggest retailers will be closed for the first time in 30 years to give its employees a break after working throughout the pandemic for the past few months.

However, Walmart will reopen for Black Friday and actually will begin rolling out “Black Friday Deals for Days” on Nov. 4 in store and online.

Huge savings will be available on everything from Apple AirPods to Instant Pots.

Target

One of Walmart’s top competitors, Target, also announced plans to close on Thanksgiving this year.

While shoppers won’t be able to shop the aisles during the holiday, they can experience “Black Friday Now” sales through Nov. 28.

“We’re taking a completely new approach to Black Friday, giving guests more flexibility and ensuring they can plan ahead for a safe, stress-free shopping experience,” Christina Hennington, Target’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in a statement.

Dick’s Sporting Goods

The popular retailer known for its wide variety of athletic apparel and accessories has confirmed that its stores will close for Thanksgiving.

This year, instead of the store’s usual Black Friday doorbusters, Dick’s is hosting “10 Days of Black Friday” with deals starting on Nov. 18.

Additionally, Dick’s will be offering contactless curbside pickup nationwide.

J.C. Penney

This year, J.C. Penney made the decision to close stores on Thanksgiving Day for the first time since 2012.

The retailer’s Black Friday sales will run from Nov. 25 to Nov. 28 with deep discounts on everything from apparel and home items to toys and holiday decor.

Best Buy

While customers can still enjoy deals online and via Best Buy’s app, physical stores will be closed on Thanksgiving this year.

Beginning on Nov. 27 at 5 a.m., shoppers can enjoy huge savings through a variety of sales events.

There will be deals on brands such as Dyson, Canon, Samsung, Bose and Lenovo.

Macy’s

The retailer will be closed for the holiday this year, and will reopen for Black Friday.

Macy’s early deals will begin Nov. 16 online as well as in stores and include MAC lipsticks, Hot Wheels Monster Truck Bash Ups Vehicles for under $10 and Sedona & Cuisinart aluminum frying pans for as low as $4.99.

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