By Marlee Ginter

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s the last weekend before Christmas and it was no surprise to see shoppers out buzzing from one store to the next.

Many were obviously buying up those last-minute gifts – but shoppers we talked with are still planning to play it safe this year.

“I didn’t go home for Thanksgiving and that kind of sucked,” said shopper Marlie Thornbur. “It’s really hard for sure.”

“I’m staying home, my mom, me and my grandpa, my dad works. So it’ll just be the three of us,” said shopper Macalah Rojas.

The National Retail Federation tracks shopping trends and estimated more than 150 million Americans planned to shop this Saturday alone, despite the pandemic.

And that’s actually a slight increase with roughly 148 million shoppers on the same day last year.

“So we know people are going out and about more. They’re not staying home,” said Sr. Dean Blumberg, an infectious disease expert with UC Davis Health. “They’re visiting with people more and that’s what’s leading to these opportunities for transmission and subsequent infection.”

Blumberg said that while the vaccine is just around the corner, he wants everyone to remember we’re not out of the woods yet.

“These vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel so if we could just hold it together for a few more months, next Christmas we can go back to what we traditionally expect,” he said.

To avoid shoppers crowding the stores, many retailers are urging people to use their curbside pickup services. Some even let you get in line virtually so you don’t have to wait near other people – and simply drive up when it’s your turn.

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