By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Black Friday is just around the corner. As with most things in 2020, it won’t quite be like what it used to be.

With COVID-19 cases surging across the country and a 10 p.m. curfew affecting 94% of Californians, major retailers are laying out their Black Friday deals early and mostly online to discourage crowding.

“It’s our first (holiday) during a real pandemic, so I just feel like no one is really prepared,” said shopper Justyn Carrillo.

But, the big box stores are trying to prepare. Customers are urged to utilize curbside pickup or online shopping this Black Friday. Many companies started offering deals earlier than ever to limit in-person interactions.

“I usually come in store, but I just gotta Amazon it this time unfortunately,” said Jose Ortiz. “It feels safer, at least.”

A projected 33% spike in e-commerce is expected to strain fulfillment carriers this season.

But so far, it seems like some are still choosing to wait in shorter lines to shop inside stores.

Bob Westgate and his partner Jessica bought phones for their whole family at a Best Buy in Pasadena Tuesday night.

“We were actually just saying, ‘Wow it’s Thanksgiving week and there’s like hardly anyone in there,'” he said. “Which is probably good.”

The National Retail Federation forecasts holiday sales could reach $766 billion this year, which is a 5.2% increase from last year.

But, experts say only time will tell if consumers’ new shopping preferences are here to stay after the pandemic.

“The charts are alarming,” Westgate said. “(Jessica) luckily sports hand sanitizer on a regular basis.”

Experts also said consumers are also expected to buy “guilt gifts” this year — treating themselves and loved ones for having such a rough year.