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Holiday shoppers flood Bay Area stores despite COVID surge

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ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — COVID-19 case rates remain high in Alameda County, but that is not stopping people from visiting crowded shopping centers for last minute holiday shopping.

In Livermore, the San Francisco Premium Outlets remain busy during the pandemic.

A last minute holiday shopping rush before stores close for Christmas draws consistent crowds at the San Francisco Premium Outlets in Livermore.

Though not everyone feels comfortable around others.

Novel coronavirus is widespread in Alameda County, where the public health department says 8,821 new positive cases have been reported in the past two weeks.

That’s why some are hesitant to shop in-person.

“I’m still scared of the virus. That’s why,” Leo Tang said.

Benches are blocked off to discourage people from sitting too close to one another.

But in some cases, the tape was removed and the signage was ignored.

“It’s a lot of people, you know, they’re with families, they’re sitting outside without mask and talking or eating foods,” Tang said. “That’s something I’m not feel comfortable.”

While the county remains under the state’s regional shelter-in-place order, retail stores are allowed to operate with limited capacity and a metering system to minimize the number of customers inside.

Guildlines shoppers say businesses are mostly following.

“If the stores are closed, all these people aren’t going to have jobs,” Christina Aguilera said. “So, I mean, i think it’s good that it is open and they’re able to make it safe.”

A premium outlets spokesperson declined to comment on how they are implementing their health protocols.

One visitor showed up early to avoid the later crowd, but was still discouraged by the long lines.

“It’s too bunched up. There’s too many people bunched up,” the shopper said. “Instead of staying six feet apart, they’re not doing that. Even in the lines waiting for the high end stores — they’re not doing that.”

For what it’s worth though, she adds the crowds were larger earlier in the week.

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