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NEW YORK — The raging coronavirus pandemic kept crowds thin at malls and stores across the country on Black Friday, but a surge in online shopping offered a beacon of hope for struggling retailers after months of slumping sales and businesses toppling into bankruptcy.

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Those tightly packed Black Friday lines that snake through the mall parking lot in the dead of night, past tents and lawn chairs and coolers stacked with still-warm Thanksgiving leftovers, are not exactly conducive to social distancing.

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Those tightly packed Black Friday lines that snake through the mall parking lot in the dead of night, past tents and lawn chairs and coolers stacked with still-warm Thanksgiving leftovers, are not exactly conducive to social distancing.

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For bars and restaurants in downtown Frederick, the night before Thanksgiving is usually one of the busiest nights of the year, with establishments across town packed shoulder-to-shoulder with revelers and college kids looking to meet up with old friends and get out of the house for a while.