Stores focus on safety during overnight holiday openings
Miriam Valverde/South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Planning an outing to Macy’s or Toys R Us at the break of dawn this weekend for last-minute holiday shopping?
Officials for stores that are opening up to 88 hours straight this holiday season assured shoppers that security is a top concern and they should not fear checking items off their lists at uncommon hours.
“The safety and security of our customers and employees is our highest priority,” Alyssa Peera, a Toys R Us spokeswoman, said in a statement. “We determine each Toys R Us location’s safety and security plans on a store-by-store basis, including additional security shifts during overnight hours, as well as other measures.”
Toys R Us plans to open its doors for 88 consecutive hours the weekend before Christmas, from 6 a.m. Friday to 10 p.m. Christmas Eve.
It is not the only store with round-the-clock hours.
Macy’s announced this month that for the first time it would keep its Florida stores open for at least 48-hours straight the weekend before Christmas. Special deals will be available from 7 a.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Sunday. Some stores will stay open until midnight that Sunday.
“We are going to ensure our customers and sales associates have a safe experience,” said Melissa Goff, a Macy’s spokeswoman. “It is a top priority at Macy’s.”
Goff could not go into details about security staffing, but said Macy’s stores will continue to partner with local officials and agencies during extended hours.
Ellen Korelitz, the director of marketing for Town Center at Boca Raton, said the mall offers “appropriate security” whenever it is open. Although she would not talk about any security specifics, she said, “We assure that our safety and security is a number one priority.”
Town Center at Boca Raton is joining several other malls in Broward and Palm Beach counties in extending regular schedules by at least two hours to accommodate holiday shoppers.
Because malls will not open for 48 or 88 consecutive hours, customers will likely have the ability to park closer to the open stores, Green said.
“If you want to shop without the crowds, the middle of the night may be a good time to do it,” Green said.
Yet shoppers should remain vigilant at all times, police officials said.
Last-minute shoppers should also try to go out in groups if shopping at unusual hours, said Deputy Eric Davis, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
“Follow your gut instinct,” said Keyla Concepcion, a Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.
If something about an area or parking lot makes shoppers feel unsafe, they should be extra cautious and try to find a better location, she said.
“No deal at the store is worth putting your life in danger,” she said.
Safety tips for holiday shoppers:
Be aware of surroundings.
Park in well-lit areas, close to store entrance.
Keep car keys in hand while walking in parking lots.
Don’t carry large sums of money; use debit or credit card if possible.
Try to go with a group of people.
Ask store security to walk you to your car.