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Pandemic Brings Big Changes For Long Island Businesses On Last Shopping Weekend Before Christmas

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The Saturday before Christmas is known as "Super Saturday," and it's expected to be dramatically different this year with a lot of shopping online.

So what does that mean to the bottom line in this first COVID Christmas?

As COVID positive cases continue to rise across Long Island, the final holiday push is underway. It's the last shopping weekend before Christmas, and the pandemic is bringing big changes.

"This is actually my first trip all year, otherwise I've done everything online," one shopper told CBS2's Jennifer McLogan.

There is a mad dash at malls, but it's not the numbers of old.

"It's really not that crowded, so a lot of people must be shopping online," one shopper said.

Over 150 million Americans plan to shop on the Saturday before Christmas, but of those, 42% will do so online only, avoiding malls and stores.

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Normally, family-owned Venezia's of Mineola would have crowds of Christmas tree shoppers.

"It's been a long, hard season," Frank Venezia said.

"Our business has been able to evolve," Joanne Venezia said.

"Deliver trees to people who are afraid to go out," Frank Venezia said.

"My son right now just left to go to the Hamptons to deliver trees," Joanne Venezia said.

Joanne and Frank Venezia feel blessed.

"You really have to decorate, you really have to put up the tree and keep your spirits up," Valley Stream resident Eisha Hall said.

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For florists, in-person holiday home decorations are a huge part of the season.

Hengstenberg's, of Garden City, is now delivery and drop-off, and the centerpieces are smaller.

"I've delivered to doors, and the kids are running in and out, happy noises inside their houses," florist Dorothy Christofides said. "I'm just not going in."

But many grocery shoppers say they are reluctant to order delivery and are willing to stand in line to buy for their traditional meals.

"Lobster tails for Christmas Eve, for all the fish," one shopper said.

"A ham, right? Get together with a couple of family members," another shopper said.

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"Do the best you can with what you have," another shopper said.

That's the feeling at hometown bakeries.

"Right now, there would be a line around the block," Ben Borognone, at Buttercooky of Floral Park, said.

"People are not coming out. Everybody's doing the majority of stuff online, such as myself," St. Albans homeowner Mary Price said.

Price says she's surprising her son, who is graduating from college, with a strawberry shortcake. It's a congratulations at Christmas and a thank you from Buttercooky for the patronage.


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