CALGARY -- Last minute Christmas shopping is happening a bit earlier this year. Brick and mortar stores and shopping centres in Calgary were busy Saturday hours before new provincial health restrictions take effect after midnight.

The new restrictions impact all shops and businesses in Alberta, restricting the number of shoppers allowed inside to 15 per cent of fire code capacity, excluding staff.

During her friday briefing — Alberta’s chief medical officer warned against panic buying.

“We do not need to wait for the clock to strike midnight on Saturday and for those public health orders to go into effect to being doing our part. Please do not rush into malls, or cram into businesses... before the restrictions kick in,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

Some shoppers carried out their weekly shop with a specific goal to stockpile the pantry.

“We were just trying to get a few things in before big line-ups start, we imagine tomorrow when the new regulations kick in,” said Tammy Corea.

For others — lining up outside the Costco in Sage Hill is a matter of routine as prior existing social distancing guidelines.

Experts who study the human response to disasters say lessons have been learned since Alberta's first wave of the pandemic

“Ultimately we have more knowledge now and we know more than we did eight months ago,” said Timothy Haney, sociology professor at Mount Royal University.

He add people may be shopping for supplies in order to feel in control of their situation — and not necessarily out of panic.

“I see it as people trying to cope with a high degree of uncertainty when they don’t know how this is going to play out over the next few weeks.”

Officials may adjust the measures of the Public Health Order — as it stands it runs Dec. 13 - Jan. 12.