So, what does the day after Christmas look like at Bay Area retail stores during a surge in the pandemic?
In Walnut Creek Saturday, some people were willing to wait in lines for holiday deals, but others were happy to find no lines – and hoped to avoid the virus while making gift returns.
“I don’t want to go into any stores right now,” said Beryl Silver of Lafayette.
Her husband, Ivor, agreed.
“We’re avoiding stores,” he said. “We have a combined age of nearly 200. It’s probably not a good idea to go into a store.”
The Silvers like to keep it light. They even named their dog after a comedian. He’s Phil Silver.
But with an actual combined age of about 165, they take the coronavirus very seriously.
“Of course we’re concerned,” Ivor said. “It’s a dreadful disease. It doesn’t recognize gender, or race, or color or creed.”
They hoped they’d find no crowd at Nordstrom’s to safely return something that didn’t fit right.
Some shoppers said that’s exactly what they’re finding, no lines at return counters and people following COVID-19 protocols.
“They’re masked,” said one shopper in Walnut Creek. “They’re doing all of the proper precautions.”
Overall, the U.S. Commerce Department reported retail sales down more than 1% during what would normally be a busy November shopping month.
But outside of Walnut Creek’s Lululemon store, shoppers were waiting in lines of 10 to 15 minutes to take advantage of the Canadian company’s Boxing Day bargains.
There were lines outside of other stores too as employees worked to ensure indoor capacities didn’t exceed 25%.
But even that’s too dangerous for the Silvers, who want to get vaccinated before waiting in any line or walking shoulder-to-shoulder with others, inside or out.
“As soon as the doctors get the shots, we’re going,” Beryl said.