Bay Area shoppers look for after Christmas deals and make gift returns despite warnings by officials to stay home

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Despite sobering and rising COVID-19 case numbers, shoppers were out on this day after Christmas on the hunt for sales and making those annual gift returns.

Julie Flores from Alameda waited patiently in a line outside the Louis Vuitton store in San Francisco's Union Square which stretched around the building. She was making a post-Christmas return.

"It was a really nice bag, too big, I'm looking for something smaller," said Flores.

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Across the street, there was a line of shoppers outside Gucci. Temperature checks were required at the door.

"I got to do some returns, I didn't do a good job at picking my girl's gift, she didn't like it," said shopper Ivan Lopez.

Most stores were following health guidelines, limiting the number of customers inside.

It was not your typical day after Christmas crowds on Union Square. There were fewer shoppers and some folks showed up because it's tradition.

"I've shopped the day after Christmas for the last 40 years, it's just really sad stores are empty, I'm worried about the the people working who might be getting laid off," said shopper Sharon Allen.

WATCH: Patrons wait hours to get House of Prime Rib to go in San Francisco
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For many, the Christmas rush was on tonight. Shoppers getting last-minute food and gifts. At House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, the wait to get food was several hours and the line stretched around the block.



The Westfield Shopping Centre was busier. People were making returns and looking for sales.

But crowds of shoppers at locals malls isn't the picture that health officials want to see.

"My concern is if people gather together to shop especially indoors, we're going to see more transmission," said Marin County Public Health Officer Matt Willis.

With new COVID-19 cases spiking and ICU beds running low, Willis fears another surge on top of a post-Thanksgiving surge.

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"Maybe it's too late but we hope everyone will take every precaution they can, the last thing we need now is another surge on top of the surge we experienced after Thanksgiving," he added.

Willis says just stay home if you can and avoid large gatherings.

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