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Pandemic scares away Halloween pop-up retailers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Halloween is a little more than a month away, but the coronavirus pandemic is scaring away some holiday retailers.

Party City plans to open just 25 pop-up stores under its “Halloween City” brand this year, which is a 91-percent reduction compared to last year. The company also plans to hire 20-percent fewer seasonal workers across all of its stores.

Other retailers are embracing the holiday.

Store manager at Spirit Halloween at Regency Square Mall, Andrew Edelman, said there’s nothing spooky about this year’s business, despite the pandemic.

For years around this time, the former Sears space inside the mall becomes Spirit Halloween. It opened the second week of August.

This is just one of more than a handful of holiday retailers throughout the Jacksonville area.

Edelman said from his perspective, the pandemic has not had any impact on his business.

“So far this year, there hasn’t been a lot of days where we haven’t met our goal or doubled our goal, Sunday we were looking at tripling our goal,” he said.

Edelman said Spirit Halloween is following and complying with all city, state, and CDC guidelines.

“We are requiring face masks inside the store, we have social distancing markers, hand sanitization throughout the store, we have a couple of hand sanitizers at the registers, sneeze guards, as far as associated and people in the stores, we are required to wear masks at all times,” Edelman said. “We are doing everything we can to make sure everything is taken care of, sweep, mop, vacuum, clean the store, and disinfect.”

The CDC is encouraging people to stay away from many Halloween activities this year, including trick-or-treating. The CDC has released a complete list of activities of what it calls low risk, moderate, and higher risk activities that should be avoided.


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