NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Malls across Hampton Roads are gearing up for a busy Black Friday.

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On the peninsula, employees at Patrick Henry Mall will be off on Thanksgiving for the second year in a row.

Makia Ross, who’s the senior marketing director for the mall, says they’ll open at 7 a.m. Friday for customers.

“Luckily all of our stores have reopened,” Ross said about the impacts of COVID over the last year. “All of our shoppers should follow the CDC guidelines with COVID-19 that’s going on right now.”

Ross says because of steady COVID cases and high vaccination numbers, they’re expecting larger crowds this year.

“We do expect bigger crowds to be coming out this year, but with the fear there will be a shortage of inventory,” added Ross. “A lot of stores are offering these great amazing deals early. We think people will want to take advantage of these special now as an inventory shortage does come upon us early.”

Shopper Lindsay Lopez, who stopped by the mall with her family to take photos with Santa, says the crowds are one of the reasons why she won’t shop on Black Friday this year.

“It seems like this year it might be a little extra crazy. That’s why we’re doing other things,” she said.

Lopez added that she always looks forward to spending time with family and friends.

Ross says on Black Friday, they’ll have stuff for the whole family including giveaway prizes and DJ Mark, starting at noon.

She encourages families to accompany their adolescent children and to be observant. But she says if you want to make it a great Black Friday, it’s also important to plan ahead.

“Come out shop. Shop early, shop later but there will be deals all day long,” Ross said.