Rochester continues preparing for Christmas despite COVID-19 surge


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Despite coronavirus cases continuing to hit record levels and local healthcare systems getting creative on where they treat certain patients, holiday routines appear to be going on like normal throughout the Finger Lakes Region.  

Between the annual Roc Holiday Village Festival closing out its final day and catching up with holiday shoppers getting their business done on the last weekend before Christmas, people are looking ahead to holding Christmas in larger gatherings this year. While bringing more foot traffic into stores.  

Realizing there’s no time during the week to get those Christmas shopping lists done, people flocked to vendors at festivals or retail stores for goodies. But some noticed little caution being shown for COVID-19.  

“Nobody hardly has masks on when I’m out in the stores,” Roseanda Pittman-Williams who shops in Henrietta said.  

Still, local businesses are taking advantage of the surge in turnout to take in all the thousands of dollars in extra holiday revenue they missed in 2020.  

“We get about 200 people every time they come through Roc Village and we also have our store at East View Mall which gets about the same,” Amanda Adolf of Impact Earth shop said. “So, ever since the holidays and Roc Village, Boom! Big time increase.”  

Being the last Sunday before Christmas rolls around, everybody was hoping to get as much of their pre-holiday chores and shopping done. Leading a lot of people to take advantage of the holiday village to find unique local merchandise you can’t get elsewhere.  
“I had a lot of things on my list and honestly, I can’t remember all of them,” Taylor Rousse at the Roc Holiday Village Festival said. “Got my brother, mom, and sister out of the way. I got a lot of Sherpa hoodies, hats, and gloves. Then little dog memorabilia-type things.” 

For those we spoke with who are vaccinated, long trips and bigger gatherings seemed appropriate. Even coming in from another country.  

“We came from Ottawa, Canada to come to East Rochester,” Alha Gri said. “Last Christmas we didn’t do anything because we’re in quarantine.”  

With Covid hospitalizations up more than 30% in the Finger Lakes Region compared to one month ago, doctors are still urging people to exercise caution when out shopping or gathering with family. 

“Have a family get-together but we will all have masks on when we’re over there,” Pittman-Williams added. “Which is a good thing because it’s about 20-30 of us over there at one time.”  

“At the bare minimum, you need to make sure that we’re wearing our masks appropriately and minimizing the exposure,” Rochester Regional Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Keith Grams warned. “We all have examples of antidotes of patients that got together as a family and Covid just kind of ran through the family.”  

For all the best medical advice on traveling through this holiday season as we start the final week before Christmas the Center for Disease Control and Prevention does have a list of what you should be on the lookout for. You can find that by clicking here.

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