RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A mad dash, heading into the weekend before the Christmas holiday. The curveball this year? A pandemic that prolongs. On Thursday, 8News witnessed a sea of cars, and packed parking lots.

The Chesterfield Towne Center was no exception.

“I’m actually Christmas shopping because this is the last week I’m going to be able to do it, so I got to do it now,” said Malik Adams. “But, I guess everybody had that idea because it’s packed in there.”

Dr. Caitlin Dillon, a family physician with Bon Secour, recommends shoppers take hand sanitizer, wipe down carts, keep masks on and don’t eat or drink while shopping.

“If you are able to get a gift or give a gift that doesn’t require you to go shopping, that is certainly a better choice,” she said.

Taking some of this advice, Meghan Hill was inside the Midlothian-area Ross ‘Dress for Less.’

“I have my Lysol in my car, I have alcohol. Once we come out of the store, I’m ‘Lysoling’ down, sanitizer and everything,” she said.

8News caught up with Cash Brooks and Rashaun Richards, who were also shopping at Ross.

“Even the stores itself, they’re wiping stuff down,” Brooks said. “They’ve got signs everywhere, nice little signs that let you know you’ve got to safely shop. This coronavirus is nothing to play with,” Brooks said.

8News asked the two what would be their response to someone who’s not wearing a mask?

‘Half of the time I don’t even wear a mask, for real,” Richards answered.

As to his reasoning, Richards says, “I don’t know, maybe the [coronavirus] could not be real, for real. Maybe it’s a theory.”

That kind of answer is why public health experts still plead with the public to wear masks. Especially around groups of people—indoors.

“None of us is going to count the number of people before we enter a store. So, I think you have to do that, walk-in and make a self-assessment: ‘Can I safely, in this store, stay six feet away from most people for the majority of my shopping?’” Dr. Dillon said.

If the answer is yes, and you reach the checkout counter, Dr. Dillon says think twice, and touch less.

“If you are able and equipped to pay in a touch-free way if you can use your phone or your watch, then do that,” Dr. Dillon said. “If you can tap your card, then do that.”