Early Friday morning as many Brownsville residents slept, others decided to shop for Black Friday deals.
At Academy Sports + Outdoors, dozens of shoppers waited for a 5 a.m. store opening, eager to get inside and buy products — especially, for some, ammunition and guns. Store Director Arturo Hernandez said those sales have been up since Election Day.
“The customers are looking for ammo, they’re looking for guns,” he said. “In fact, every single day we have a line of people waiting outside to buy ammo and guns.”
The Associated Press reported this month that there has been an increase in sales of ammunition and guns since the COVID-19 cases started to spike in March in the United States. But sales further increased in the wake of riots following the May 25 death of George Floyd, killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“Firearm sales traditionally increase during presidential election years, fueled by fears among gun owners that the next president could restrict their rights,” the AP previously reported. “But this year has seen a series of previously unheard-of numbers as one crisis after another has emerged: the coronavirus, demonstrations over racial inequality and police brutality, as well as deep political divisions among Americans.”
However, firearms were not the only item on shoppers’ lists.
Hernandez said Black Friday customers were also looking for ways to spend time at home with family. He said a lot of customers were looking to buy pool tables, trampolines and electronics.
“The customers are looking for trampolines and even though trampolines are not on the Black Friday deals, they are still looking for that,” he said. “They are looking for pool tables and everything that is electronics.”
The fear of another wave of COVID-19 cases in Brownsville might be the reason residents are buying items that would improve their time at home with family.
Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez said Wednesday on his Facebook page that it was imperative to celebrate Thanksgiving as safely as possible and avoid gatherings of 10 people or more. There were 31 new positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Brownsville that same day, totaling 14,138 confirmed cases, according to the City of Brownsville.
“Happy Thanksgiving! Be thankful for your blessings and stay safe,” Mendez said Thursday.
“2020 has been very difficult overall, but we have been tough, and have led a model response for a border city. This year has given us all a chance to take a deep breath and reflect on what is really important. I’m thankful for my health and my family’s health, as well as the love and support I have received from the community. I wish all of you the best today and always. We will be better and stronger after this.”