How we shop for the holidays is different this year
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Every year, Nicole Fritz in Michigan goes to holiday gatherings where she sees co-workers or cousins she doesn’t really know that well. That means every year, she finds herself standing in a store, looking for that perfect generic holiday gift — a lotion, a candle, a mug.
Since Fritz is not really seeing anyone this year, her shopping list is much smaller.
She’s mostly buying online, from small retailers. She ordered a custom-made dress for her sister in October. It’s one of several gifts that still haven’t arrived.
“They send stuff out, but the delivery date keeps getting later and later,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dana Chadwell in Tennessee has been shopping exclusively online. She says stores are too risky, because her parents are elderly and her brother is on dialysis.
“We just made the decision that we couldn’t risk catching coronavirus ourselves and sharing it with our family,” Chadwell said. “And it was more important to us to be able to stay in contact with our families who all live nearby, rather than go out and have a social life and that sort of thing. So we’ve been very, very cautious, and very sequestered for most of the year.”
For the holidays, she often buys people experiences like concert tickets. Instead, this year, she’s getting her parents practical items. For her mom: cookware. Her dad: flannel shirts and handkerchiefs.
Danny Groner in New York is trying something new too. Instead of physical gifts, he’s sending money on Venmo.
Like, his friends have two young kids, and at a picnic in September they ate all his pretzels.
“So on Hanukkah, I Venmoed Ariella, the mom, $10 and earmarked it for pretzels,” Groner said, “just as a nice note that, despite the fact that we couldn’t see one another over the holiday, I was still thinking of them.”
A few days later, that friend sent Groner some photos. The kids had turned the pretzels into a crafting project – making menorahs out of them using marshmallows and other things.
“It looks like we might have stumbled our way into a new tradition,” he said.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?
This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.
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India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy continues reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
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