With the start of the month of December, people around the world have already started booking their flights back home in order to spend the holidays with family and friends. Experts know that the increase in travel is likely to increase coronavirus transmission rates but there is also another activity that can add to the rising number of cases significantly – holiday shopping.
The sales of different items ranging from clothes and shoes to new decorations, kitchen equipment increases every year during the holidays. This is because not only do people have to dress up themselves but have to prepare for arranging dinners, gatherings as well as giving presents.
Therefore, stores and malls have the largest crowds in this time period. This year, every activity and celebration has been different due to the prevalence of the coronavirus infection. The holidays are going to be no different than past events of the year.
The U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has released several sets of guidelines for the upcoming few weeks. These cover topics such as how to safely attend or arrange an event and travel. Although there are instructions on keeping the risk of coronavirus spread low, the agency recommends staying home and avoiding both dinners and travels these holidays.
This especially applies to those who have people with existent medical conditions at home or have such disease themselves. However, shopping is an activity every person is likely to indulge in even if they are not going to be a part of any gathering or travel.
Gifts and presents are a commonly practiced part of holiday celebrations. In comparison with going to large events, sending a gift is indeed much safer. Now, this may no longer be true due to the increase in crowds at different shopping places.
Shopping itself can also increase coronavirus transmission rates to a great extent especially that people are no longer taking coronavirus restrictions as strictly as they did before. In the midst of holiday shopping, many have been seen to not wear a face-covering or practice social distancing.
While being in large public spaces, not following guidelines can infect a large number of people at the same time. The majority is also not taking preventive measures due to the rise in pandemic fatigue as it has been noted that people, especially young adults have simply become tired of the restrictions imposed because of the ongoing health crisis.
At the same time, the fatigue and stress from the pandemic are making people go out and shop for holidays even more than before. So, what is the solution?
According to the CDC, the risk of catching the coronavirus cannot be fully eradicated but it can certainly be reduced by taking all safety measures during shopping such as wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, avoiding crowded spacing, keeping a distance, and not touching the face.
The area of the mall or the shops also matters. For instance, studies show that low-income areas usually have double the risk of coronavirus infection spread.
For people who belong to high risk groups including people with chronic health issues and older adults, it is better to shop online rather than going to a store.