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Police, health officials give advice for a safe Black Friday
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Black Friday deal hunters queue up Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, along the sidewalk at Best Buy to wait for the Gainesville store's 5 p.m. opening. - photo by Scott Rogers

Gainesville Police will be out conducting extra patrols through the holiday season, and health officials are providing guidance for the Black Friday holiday amid COVID-19.

“People will be out earlier than normal and traveling on little sleep,” Lt. Kevin Holbrook said in a news release. “Please be mindful of your surroundings and drive safely, especially through parking lots.”

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Gainesville Police will be out conducting extra patrols through the holiday season, and health officials are providing guidance for the Black Friday holiday amid COVID-19.

“People will be out earlier than normal and traveling on little sleep,” Lt. Kevin Holbrook said in a news release. “Please be mindful of your surroundings and drive safely, especially through parking lots.”

When out shopping, police are advising people to keep valuable items out of plain view in their cars and be careful with their belongings. Holbrook said to keep belongings in the trunk, park in well-lit areas and carry “as little cash or personal items as possible.”

“Please keep a watchful eye on your purses and other belongings in stores,” Holbrook said. “The best practice is to use the ‘buddy system’ (which) will allow you to keep a watchful eye on each other.”

Along with other law enforcement agencies, Gainesville Police and its traffic services unit will be out looking for aggressive driving, speeding, seatbelt violations and impaired drivers.

“We’re seeing, compared to this time last year, an increase in traffic fatalities on our roads overall even though the volume of traffic has dropped about on average 10-15%,” Governor’s Office of Highway Safety spokesman Robert Hydrick told The Times Monday, Nov. 23.

According to the highway safety office, there were 12 people killed in Georgia wrecks from Nov. 27-30 of last year.

Northeast Georgia Health System also recently put out a tip sheet, giving advice on low-risk activities to avoid spreading COVID-19.

“Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others,” according to the NGHS tip sheet.

NGHS said higher-risk activities included going shopping in crowded stores at times surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday or attending large indoor gatherings.

“If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person festivities,” according to the NGHS advisory. “When planning to host a holiday celebration, you should assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel or reduce the number of attendees.”

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office declined a request for comment, saying it would provide its advisory for Thanksgiving holiday safety on Wednesday, Nov. 25.


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