Retail stores were hit just as hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as restaurants and other businesses in Lubbock.

Barnes & Noble, located in the South Plains Mall, had to close off one of its entrances due to a shortage of workers. There isn't anyone to maintain the check-out area in the back of the store that feeds directly into the mall.

Over the holidays, I headed over to B&N to grab some last-minute gift items. The checkout line at the front of the store was insanely long and I remembered that there was another one located in the back left corner of the store. I headed over there to find it completely empty, without an employee anywhere near it. I wondered to myself if shoplifters were able to just creep right out of the book store and into the mall undetected, as the doors near that check-out were still wide open. It looks like they made the decision recently to close those doors. I may have been on to something.

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With hospitals filling back up again with COVID-19 patients and many people quarantined in their homes fighting the illness, it's no wonder businesses in town feel so empty. Will we ever get back to the way things were? Or has this pandemic changed us forever?

The best anyone can do right now is to try to stay healthy by getting vaccinated and avoiding contact with sick people. In theory, this seems an easy solution, but the spread of misinformation, conspiracy theories and distrust in the vaccine is still going strong in West Texas.

See Striking Photos of the Tourism Industry During COVID-19

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