Black Friday lines form overnight in Montreal despite COVID-19 pandemic
MONTREAL -- There's an ongoing pandemic, Montreal is in the red zone and gatherings are not permitted, but that hasn't stopped shoppers from lining up overnight to get a deal on some sneakers on Black Friday.
Lured perhaps by a pair of Air Jordan Max 1s for $40 or the Adidas x Pharrell "Chinese New Year" size 11s for $7, around people were camped on Ste. Catherine St. in front of Centrall MTL's flagship shoe store overnight.
The queue formed Thursday night around 11 p.m. and grew to dozens by 4 a.m. Friday morning, the line up was around the block. Those in line were not spaced two metres apart though they were wearing masks.
Julian Grau-brown was second in line after his friend showed up Thursday at 1 p.m. to get in line. His reason for braving the weather and pandemic is clear: he loves sneakers.
"Every time I buy new sneakers, it's a new story," said Grau-brown. "A new story means a new chapter in my life, and there's just so many beautiful things you can do with a shoe; whether you want to wear them, buy them, trade them and sell them. It's just a really evolving business in Montreal."
Retail analysts say the majority of this year's Black Friday purchases will likely be made online, but some, like the crowd in Montreal, will still hit up brick-and-mortar shops.
Walmart, a typical target of the deal-hungry masses, has an extensive online sale that ends Sunday night, and Apple has combined its Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals into one weekend-long online shop-fest.
Montreal police (SPVM) patrols will be monitoring retail stores where lines are known to form to ensure masks are being worn and people are spaced two metres apart.
"There are not more police officers, they're just going to patrol around the sectors where they know there are possibly line ups," said SPVM spokesperson Jean-Pierre Brabant. "If we see people without masks, we'll advise them to wear them... We're not going to give tickets, we're just going to advise them."
Brabant said if people don't comply with officers' requests, fines may be given.