By Nick Starling

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With less than a week away from Christmas, shopping centers are packed in the metroplex. Whether it’s people trying to find gifts for their loved one or friends, the new rise in COVID-19 cases as the Omicron variant spreads is not keeping shoppers away.

Shoppers turned out despite the surge in COVID-19. (Credit: Nick Starling/CBSDFW.COM)

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“We made sure that we did many things to make sure that the environment was safe, that the visit with Santa was safe that we were doing things in a way that wouldn’t compromise anyone’s health,” said Angie Freed, General Manager of Galleria Dallas.

Freed told CBS 11 News they’ve seen about a 28-percent increase in sales compared to last year when many people sat out due to the pandemic. That increase is almost in line with 2019 pre-pandemic.

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“We’ve certainly seen a return to bricks and mortar and a return to shopping, preliminary reports from our retailers are that sales are up,” added Freed.

Shoppers told CBS 11 they still wanted to shop in-person as they feel safe doing so right now.

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“With the COVID-19 rise, I think that’s going to be our new norm there’s always going to be a new variant and it’s going to have to be something that we adjust to,” said shopper Crystal Thomas.