People were shopping Friday at Emeryville’s Bay Street shops, but it was different this year.

“It’s been very calm,” said DeeDee Taft, spokeswoman for the shopping center.

She said it has been quieter than last year, and quieter than in previous years.

Fortunately, many Bay Street businesses are part of national chains with an online presence, so they are selling online, too.

Taft said COVID-19 has affected everyone in the retail world, adding that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending people stay home and shop online.

But, that does not mean retail sales will be down on Black Friday.

George Noceti, a wealth advisor with Morgan Stanley, told KRON4 news Friday that while sales at brick-and-mortar stores will be down quite a bit, internet sales will be up, leading to an overall sales gain of as much as 5.5 percent nationwide.

“People want to shop,” he said.

Shop locally

In Oakland, city officials and tourism leaders are asking people to shop locally.

“Now more than ever, Oaklanders need to support our hometown businesses by shopping locally for the holidays,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said Wednesday, in a statement.

“Even if you prefer to shop online, options for delivery and pickup are available through many local merchants,” she said.

Oakland’s marketing manager Harry Hamilton said that shopping locally provides jobs for Oakland residents, which is important during the pandemic.

City officials are urging Oakland residents to put their money where their heart is.

“Now more than ever, Oaklanders need to support our hometown businesses by shopping locally for the holidays.”

Mayor Libby Schaaf

“Oakland’s boundless creative spirit means you can find one-of-a-kind gifts while bolstering our local economy,” Schaaf added.

Shoppers can find ways to shop, fun events and a business directory on the VisitOakland website.

“Spend. Stay. Love. Oakland” is the city’s holiday season campaign for 2020.

“Oakland’s small businesses are a kaleidoscope of creativity,” said Mark Everton of VisitOakland, Oakland’s tourism hub.

Black business sales in the black

For Black-owned businesses in Oakland, sales are up this holiday season, a trend that has continued since about the time of the death of George Floyd.

“It hasn’t tapered off,” said Nicole Felix, director of membership at the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce.

“Individuals continue to be very intentional in how they’re spending their resources and investing in Black businesses,” Felix said.

Several Black businesses in Oakland are pitching deals this holiday season, including clothing store Taylor Jay at 2355 Broadway. Felix said England’s Prince Harry was spotted wearing a mask sold by Taylor Jay.

On Berkeley’s Fourth Street shopping district, shop owners and managers were ready for the busy holiday shopping day.

“The merchants are excited to be open,” said Luma Cortez, projects and events manager for the Fourth Street Shops, which is the district’s name.

Cortez doesn’t think people can compare sales this year to last year. She said this year shop owners are eager to meet customers where they are, whether they want to shop online, in-store or pick up gifts from the curb.

Customers can stroll the avenue, she said. Merchants are being very careful by limiting the number of customers in their stores and taking other precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“There’s a lot of safe shopping to be had,” Cortez said.