By Paul Burton

NATICK (CBS) – Black Friday shoppers are making the most of this socially-distant experience this year.

The Natick Mall was busy, but as expected, there was not nearly as much foot traffic compared to last year. The Apple Store, which is typically jam-packed, was very quiet. And next to big sale signs were plenty of COVID-19 safety rules.

“It seems more mellow, quieter to me,” said Black Friday shopper Maureen Maher. “I’ve done Black Friday in the past. Usually, it’s been a lot busier.”

But vendors like Brendan Noel, who sells skin care products, wishes it was busier.

“Today we opened the mall at about 7 a.m. But it normally used to be open at 5 a.m. People used to sleep here all night,” said Noel.

Mannequins were even wearing mask. Meanwhile, benches were covered to keep folks moving along.

“It could be a lot worse, and so, we count our blessings, and we are thankful,” said shopper Steve Furlong. “Most in the family are healthy, so I don’t mind standing for a little bit.”

Jon Hurst, the president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, says shoppers are being more strategic on how they approach Black Friday.

“Shop early, because a lot of these stores are short on inventory,” said Hurst. “They are not only shopping, but they are buying. And I think that might be the theme this holiday season. People are going to go about their business and be very efficient.”

There is no doubt that Black Friday has a different feel this year. The malls were not open as early this year, and now stores have limited capacity. Still, the cash registers were ringing, which these stores need desperately to happen.

Paul Burton