Fresno sees smaller crowds for last-minute Christmas shopping

The shutdown of the movie theater and restaurants in Fresno due to COVID-19 has resulted in a slowdown in foot traffic this year.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It wasn't your typical crowded Christmas Eve at River Park this year.

There was no rush of shoppers and people had no trouble finding a parking spot.

But there were still some lines.

This year, instead of long lines at the register, shoppers saw lines outside just to get into stores that are only operating at 20% capacity.

"There are lines outside their doors because they are only allowed to have so many people inside so that process is a little bit longer in the shopping but... parking lots are not filled like they normally are," said Tracy Kashian with the River Park Shopping Center.

The shutdown of the movie theater and restaurants due to COVID-19 resulted in a slowdown in foot traffic this year.

For Alyssa Meyer and her dad Travis, shopping for mom at the last minute is practically a holiday tradition.

"(This year) most stores are definitely stepping up and cleaning a lot more and providing more of a safer environment," said Alyssa.

Other River Park traditions, like pictures with Santa, were still happening safely thanks to photo editing magic.

The Nott family came to the shopping center in the Christmas spirit, matching PJs and all.

"Obviously the Santa pictures are different. He wasn't actually there, it was more of a magic, he appears in your pictures. But, it was still a fun experience. The kids enjoyed it," said the Notts.

At the River Park Target, contactless curbside pickup was busy.

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For last-minute holiday shoppers, this was a Christmas Eve like never before.

At Fashion Fair in northeast Fresno, mall management said this Christmas Eve was less crowded by design.

Portions of the mall's parking lot were closed off.

Inside the mall, Christmas Eve crowds were noticeably smaller.

There were a few shoppers lined up outside stores including American Eagle and Footlocker as last-minute Christmas deals continue.

While this is the time of year to spend with families, the CDC warns against holiday gatherings.

Irene Manzl said she and her family are taking heed.

"None of my aunts and none of my cousins are coming out... I think we have to be safe just because there are zero percent capacity on beds and we don't want to be that family who end up in the hospital," she said.
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