Last day for Christmas shopping likely to mean more traffic madness

Today, the last shopping day before Christmas, will once again see traffic jams of New York City proportions.

Driving in the Central Valley was called locura by one local television station Thursday because the streets around some shopping centers were jammed.

A good percentage of Central Valley residents have left on vacation to the beaches and mountains, but that did not seem to reduce the traffic frenzy.

Shoppers have to be more frenzied today. Most locally owned stores are closing at midday or 6 p.m. so their staffers can begin their Christmas celebrations.

Workers at some of the chain stores will not be so lucky.

Walmart, for example, closes at 8 o’clock tonight but then opens at 9 a.m. Christmas Day.

Also in business Christmas are the movie theaters.

Traffic moderated a bit Thursday night and many soccer fans

moved indoors to watch Deportivo Saprissa take on Liga Deportiva Alajuelense in the Torneo de Invierno final. Saprissa won.

The Cruz Roja Costarricense and other first responders note that they will be working throughout the holidays. The Fuerza P™blica fielded 500 officers for security for shoppers downtown. The agency said that it had confiscated 41 firearms and made nearly 1,200 arrests during the first 15 days of the month.

There’s more work ahead. The Fiestas de San JosÈ begins Christmas in Zapote for a run until Jan. 3. The Tope Nacional horse parade is Saturday, and that brings hundreds of thousands of spectators into the downtown streets.

Restaurants, hotels and bars, particularly in tourism areas, will be having their busiest days of the year, so there is no vacation for staff there.

A.M. Costa Rica will not be published Friday. And it will not be published Jan. 1 These are two of the three days a year that the newspaper is not published. The other day is Good Friday. Still, some newspaper staffers will be monitoring developments and be ready to issue bulletins.

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