In years gone by standing shoulder to shoulder with shoppers making a mad dash to buy last minute Christmas gifts was just part of the festive norm.
This season shoppers are being asked to keep their distance in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19 – but is everyone following the rules?
How safe do you feel?
The Tele braved the hustle and bustle of the city centre to find out how safe people felt buying their last-minute essentials.
Stacey McLauchlan, 31, from Charleston, said: it was “impossible” to stay socially-distanced from other shoppers.
“Every shop I’ve been in there’s been someone right at my back, the Overgate is a nightmare.” she said.
“It doesn’t make me feel safe but it’s got to be done, people need their Christmas shopping.”
Meanwhile Margaret Maloney, 72, from Dryburgh, said in order to shop safely she had kept her wits about her more than usual.
She said: “There’s quite a lot of people in the shops and you can see they are trying by distancing at the queues and such but it’s just so busy.”
Marie McCabe, 53, of Union Street, added: “We try our best to social distance in shops but some people just dive in, in front of you when you do it.
“I was in the queue at Primark the other day – I was standing on the line and another woman walked in front of me and jumped the queue.
“In Iceland in the Wellgate it’s as busy as Piccadilly Circus with everyone trying to get their shopping.”
Managing a safe shopping experience
And the Tele also spoke to staff at the Overgate and Wellgate to find out how challenging the Christmas rush was from a safety perspective.
The maximum amount of shoppers allowed inside the Overgate Shopping Centre are limited to 5,422 at any one time, as defined by the Institute of Place Management, based on the size of public floor area.
On Saturday the centre reached 3,641 visitors at peak, Sunday it was 3,431 at peak and on Monday it reached 4,150 at peak.
Malcolm Angus, centre manager of the Overgate, said: “Footfall is measured via our electronic footfall system which gives live feedback to all management and security within the centre on exactly how many people are within Overgate at any one time.
“At no time were we at risk of overcrowding in line with guidance.”
“Overgate’s Customer Services team are also pro-active in the interaction of our guests reminding those where required to adhere to social distancing, the centre’s one way system and the wearing of face mask if applicable.”
Meanwhile, managers at the Wellgate Centre said it has also undertaken a “complete and comprehensive” risk assessment with an independent auditor.
This determined the centre has a maximum capacity of 5,700 people in the building at any one time and visitor numbers have been “well within the limits”.
On Saturday the highest number of people in the building was 1,824 at peak times, on Sunday that figure reached 1,269 and on Monday it was 1,531 at peak.
A spokesman said: “The Wellgate Centre is fitted with a state-of-the-art footfall counting system that monitors every entrance, counting as people enter and leave the building.
“This is checked throughout the day by the onsite team. Over the weekend in question, two management level employees were onsite for the duration.
“Our overriding commitment is to our customers and our community, which is why we have installed one-way systems, limited the number of people using lifts and instigated hourly toilet deep cleans and frequent touch point cleaning throughout the day.
“We also have 10 hand sanitizing stations on the mall and social distancing signage at all entrances.
“In addition, we hold individual risk assessments for each of our retailers in order to ensure current safety procedures are adhered to and all of our staff receive comprehensive training, including regular refresher courses.”