Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, there weren't many lines in front of malls and big box stores this morning, the traditional kick-off of the holiday shopping season. No crush of customers savagely competed for door-buster deals, not in a pandemic where distance and order have become the norm when shoppers venture into brick and mortar stores.

Jon Hurst from the Massachusetts Retail Association says most stores were well under their 50 percent capacity limit the morning of Black Friday. Hurst says shoppers that want to patronize local stores this holiday season should come in on weekdays to limit exposure and to help out store owners whose sales have dropped because of the virus.

Retail sales this year have dropped between 25 and 50 percent, even though nearly double the number of smaller retailers have adopted online shopping options.

"I don't think we can repeat enough the importance that we need to shop when jobs depend on it because they do. And, you know, a lot of these small businesses, a lot of them are hurting," Hurst said.

Hurst says the number of local retailers offering online sales has almost doubled since March and consumers should consider spending local this holiday season.

"Where we invest our dollars, our consumer dollars, does have an impact on our main streets and our shopping districts. And, you know, we need to keep that in mind as we make some of our purchases," Hurst said.