COVID-19 and holiday shopping

How retail workers feel working during the busiest time of the year

With the holiday shopping season in full effect, some retail workers are worried for their health. Photo Esteban Cuevas

With the holiday season hitting its peak, retail stores should be in the midst of their busiest time of the year. However, living in a COVID-19 world, that may or may not be the reality.

Meranda Caballero, a manager at a woman’s clothing store, said she is most concerned about their sales during this holiday season. Compared to last year, she has noticed sales have decreased. 

Caballero said she does not worry about her health during this time because “I am very mindful and careful and so I do my best to take the proper precautions to ensure that those around me and myself are safe and healthy.” 

“People are getting very impatient with COVID regulations, it’s hard to manage and control.” —Kara Brown

Jessica Andrade, a supervisor at a baby store in Cartierville, expected there to be a decline in shoppers because of COVID-19. However, that does not seem to be the case. In fact, she stated that about 300 customers come in on any given day.

“I find people are ‘over’ the pandemic and not caring as much anymore and causing them to not care about protocols such as sanitizing their hands, carts, and surfaces. Also, people don’t tend to follow the arrows on the floor of stores as much anymore nor maintain a safe distance,” Andrade said about her worries while working during the pandemic. 

On a scale of one to 10, she rated herself a nine in terms of fearing for her health while working during this holiday season.

With people growing tired of health restrictions, retail workers like Kara Brown find it hard to manage customers. Photo Esteban Cuevas

Kara Brown, a seasonal employee in a speciality store and photography studies graduate from Concordia, said on average her workplace receives about 100 customers daily. Based on her experience of working last holiday season as well, she thinks business has stayed about the same despite COVID-19. 

Brown says she is most concerned about her job security while working during this time. A previous place she worked at closed due to COVID-19.  

“It's getting colder and people have nowhere else to go except the mall. Higher traffic means higher risk,” Brown said about her health concerns. “And people are getting very impatient with COVID regulations, it's hard to manage and control.”

Caballero agrees that one of the biggest challenges this holiday shopping season poses is keeping clients two meters apart during busy hours. 

The holiday shopping season has been impacted by COVID-19, but both Brown and Caballero agree that it has not changed holiday shopping forever.