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'Devine Day Out' changes plans to allow safer shopping

What is usually 'Devine Night Out' changed to an all day event this year to encourage COVID19 safety standards.

Many across the Midlands are filling up their shopping carts for Christmas. 

Shopping local is huge this year to help keep small businesses afloat after the year 2020 has been. 

Small business owners here in Columbia are doing what they can to make sure their shoppers are staying safe.

“It’s been so different in 2020," says Sandra Hunter, one of many shoppers who hit Devine Street Saturday for Devine Day Out.

“Devine Night out is something we have done for years and years and years and with COVID we could no longer try to get that many people and that big of large crowds into our stores," says the owner of Just the Thing Tracey Wright, "it just didn’t seem right. But we were approved by the city and the state to have an event- so we got a permit for this. And by doing it all day on Saturday it allowed us to spread those crowds out more safely.”

Store owners like Mollie Hobbs of Copper Penny say it’s important people shop locally but also keep safety in mind, “We were just hoping to create an environment that people wanted to be in.”

Masks were enforced and stores were spotless to create a safe space to purchase their holiday gifts, “handwashing, hand sanitizing, wiping everything down, keeping distanced, just helping people feel their best," Hobbs says. 

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“Days like this are very important," says Mike Easler owner of The Crescent Olive who also recognizes that safety while shopping is more important than ever, “We’re taking all of the precautions of sanitizing and wearing the masks and all of that for our customers so they feel safe and we’re safe.”

And for those who just aren’t ready to venture out yet, "we all have websites!" says Wright, "so you can still shop local and do it online. You’ve got your curbside pickup option or home delivery for some. So even if you don’t want to actually go in the store, you can still support our businesses by just visiting our websites.”

Around 40 businesses took part in Devine Day Out encouraging safety and shopping small.

To learn more about the Devine District, visit their website here.