COVID as we head into Christmas

Closing out an abnormal year is feeling extremely abnormal to many as they deal with COVID-19 and plan for the holidays.

Thanksgiving saw many people choosing small at home gatherings with immediate family over large gatherings. Yet there were those who made the decision to travel near and far.

Airports saw their busiest day, Sunday November 29 since the beginning of the pandemic. One million people made their way through U.S. airports during the past week.

While some took advantage of Black Friday sales in person, Employees of “Big Box” stores say there was a definite decrease in the amount of shoppers out that day. There are several reasons for the decrease in traffic.

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Many buyers are choosing to spend their money locally this year, giving a boost to small businesses that are still recovering from spring closures.

Shoppers took advantage of feeling safer purchasing from the comfort of their own homes. Online sales broke records. An estimated nine billion dollars was spent on U.S. retail websites.

There could be delays in the arrival of packages as delivery services gear up to hire additional employees to aid in the process. Fed Ex is hiring 70,000 workers for the holiday season. UPS intends to hire over 100,000.

Budgets are tight for many who have been financially impacted by the virus. Congress reconvened Monday. Aid packages for individuals and businesses hurting due to the pandemic are expected to be a priority. It is a short session though and parties from opposing sides would need to make agreements swiftly.

Health officials are concerned about an even larger surge in cases in the weeks leading up to the holiday. Since last spring more than 13M people in the U.S. have been infected with COVID-19.

As of press time, St. Croix County has seen a total of 4,243 positive COVID-19 cases. Of those, 2,221 are current cases.

Pierce County has seen a total of 2,149 positive cases. Of those, 308 are current.

Polk County has seen a total of 2,176 positive COVID-19 cases. Of those, 496 are current cases.

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