Cashier Druhan Parker, right, works behind a plexiglass shield Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, as he checks out shoppers Cassie Howard, left, and Paris Black at an in Chicago. The accelerating surge of coronavirus cases across the U.S. is causing an existential crisis for America’s retailers and spooking their customers just as the critically important holiday shopping season nears. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

WASHINGTON (AP) — LaTonya Story is every retailer’s worst fear.

With the viral pandemic re-surging through
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