By Tiffany Chan

BOSTON (CBS) – On the weekend before Christmas, Boston’s South End would typically be bustling with shoppers. But not in the era of COVID-19.

The smaller mom and pop businesses say people just aren’t coming in like they used to.

The rush to buy Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers looks a lot different this year.

“It’s changed. It’s something we’ve needed to adapt to,” said Joseph Nadeau, the owner of Gifted, which is located in the South End.

At Gifted, plexiglass partitions and capacity limits replace the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds that were seen in years past.

Mom and Pops stores are relying on their loyal shoppers to stay afloat. But even they’re cautious this year.

“Make sure you don’t touch anything, keep your hands clean, keep your mask on,” said shopper Lois Cato-King.

The guys at Sault New England say less foot traffic means fewer in-person sales.

“It’s been challenging,” said Saul. “People might not feel safe in crowds. A lot of people are shopping online.”

Saul says the shift to online sales comes with a price.

“The process is more labor intensive for every sale,” said Saul.

After being forced to close in the Spring, small business owners and their staff say every sale is that much more meaningful.

“It’s just really touching that they come out, and they want to support us,” said Nadeau.

And in the spirit of giving, one shopper says coronavirus or not, some traditions just can’t be replaced.

“I still enjoy the old-fashioned way of hands on. I want to be able to feel stuff and see stuff,” Cato-King said.

With several days still left before Christmas, owners are hoping that people will consider shopping small this year.

Tiffany Chan