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Millions expected to shop in last-minute push for holiday gifts

As holiday shoppers search for last-minute gifts, health leaders are hoping a COVID-19 test will make the list of to-dos as cases rise across the country.
Credit: Kayland Hagwood
Sales representative organizes products at clothing store.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The last-minute holiday shopping rush is in full swing.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), on Saturday alone, more than 148 million people were expected to search online or in-store for deals.

Among them was Megan Barnett of Lexington. 

"We've been around here in Five Points," she said, "the mall, target, Walmart."

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The NRF projects upwards of $859 billion in sales this holiday, shattering records, and leaving businesses like Vestique in Five Points hopeful for another successful season.

"A lot of our items have been going really quickly," Sales Representative Kathryn Parker said, "but we look forward to keep selling as we get closer to Christmas and everyone comes in and gets those last-minute gifts."

Ahead of gatherings, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is hoping families will put a coronavirus test on their list of to dos, as cases across the state and nation continue to rise raising concern of a possible winter surge.

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"The testing is part of protection…. If you are feeling unwell, people do not travel. Please not gather with other people," Dr. Jane Kelly, the assistant state epidemiologist, said. "We have so many more ways to prevent disease to prevent than we did last year. Let’s use them. Get vaccinated…. Go get your booster."

For now, families are happy for another Christmas holiday closer together, after a year apart.

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