By Betty Yu

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Despite the COVID pandemic and the risks, many shoppers were still determined to carry on their Black Friday traditions.

Popular stores like Zara at Valley Fair mall had a socially distanced line Friday evening.

Retailers are allowed to operate at 25% capacity since Santa Clara County is in the state’s purple tier.

Over at Santana Row, stores like Brandy Melville had a moderate wait.

“Just stopped in Sephora, Crate and Barrel’s having a good little run, so I’m going to run in and out, with our masks, and just playing it safe,” said shopper Christina Barnes of Union City. “We just wanted to keep up with the tradition of spreading some love, getting dressed up and just enjoying what we can.”

This year, more shopping is happening online. The National Retail Federation expects sales to grow by as much as 30% over last year’s holiday season. Overall, the trade group says Americans are expected to spend more this year.

“It’s more convenient online, but I’m like a visual person. I have to see it and try it out, so I like going to the stores better than online,” said Silvia Mendoca of Union City.

Santa Clara County said it wants to keep the public as safe as possible this holiday shopping weekend. By noon Friday, it had already issued 76 violations for non-compliance with its COVID-19 protocols. Its enforcement officers generally did not find large crowds early in the day. The primary violations have been failure to submit and post a revised Social Distancing Protocol.

Fines issued over the weekend will not have a grace period. The county says it will have more compliance staff visiting high traffic shopping areas to look out for the public’s safety through Sunday.

“It’s not too crowded, it’s not too crazy, everyone’s socially distancing, everyone’s wearing a mask,” said Tacoleby Williams of San Jose.

Getting a parking spot at Valley Fair required a little more patience. Staff helped direct cars and control traffic Friday evening.

D’Amber Norris said she usually avoids Black Friday crowds.

“This time, I don’t know – there’s not that many people out. I feel like because of the pandemic and it’s just nice to walk into a store, since we haven’t really been able to shop like that,” she said.

The holiday lights and mild weather were also main reasons people chose to leave their homes.

Santa Clara County is reminding retail businesses that they must comply with the state’s 10 p.m.- 5 a.m. stay-at-home order.