Health Board critical of stores advertising 'Black Friday' sales

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The Health Board has said it is ready to fine businesses advertising "Black Friday" (Must Reede) sales taking place in their stores rather than online. The agency believes they are acting irresponsibly.

Hanna Sepp, head of the Infectious Diseases Surveillance and Epidemic Department of the Health Board, said: "We really do not recommend campaigns that encourage sales. 

"With the upcoming Black Friday campaign, it's clear that these have been very important sources of revenue for merchants, but this time larger campaigns should be run online."

In the spring, the Health Board sent instructions to retailers recommending they do not organize shopping campaigns which encourage more people into their stores. This message was repeated in the fall.

The organization of a discount campaign is not a violation of the Health Board's order, but if it causes more people to gather in one place, the Board considers it necessary to intervene.

"Violators of orders can be fined," Sepp said.

The Health Board reminds people that the 2 + 2 social distancing rule applies in public indoor spaces, such as shopping malls, and that wearing face coverings is mandatory.

ERR reported there are many "Black Friday" sales campaigns in shopping malls and stores in Tallinn this week. Some stores have tried to avoid a big increase in shoppers arriving at once by stretching the sales campaigns out all week, such as footwear retailer ABC King.

Head of Ülemiste shopping mall Guido Pärnits said many stores had advertising campaigns on display and they would not be asked to stop.

"I think that this year, even on Black Friday, there will be no more people than usual because people are more timid," he said. Compared to a year ago, the number of visitors has decreased by almost 25 percent, he said.

Black Friday will usher in the start of the Christmas shopping season and the Ülemiste Center hopes the peak will come in December as usual. Pärnits has high hopes.

"I hope sales at Christmas will still be good. All the more so because many people usually travel at Christmas. This year they will not travel. So maybe, on the contrary, Christmas sales will be even better than last year," Pärnits said. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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