We know that Halloween is different this year as some families are skipping trick-or-treating since the CDC recommends against it to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but what about Christmas? Will Christmas be the same?
The answer is, unfortunately, no, as the pandemic will not be contained by December and case numbers continue to rise in many communities. But one mall operator is hoping one Christmas tradition, the yearly visit to Santa at the mall, can be saved.
As CNN reports, the second-largest mall operator in the U.S., Brookfield Properties, plans to put Santa behind a clear barrier for a no-contact visit.
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Starting November 20, Santa will be rolling into Brookfield’s malls. The barriers will vary, and may look like the mock-up Brookfield posted on its Instagram or be a bit more festive. According to CNN, the company intends to incorporate barriers into the decor by having Santa sit in a giant snow globe or behind a huge picture frame.
The CDC hasn’t gotten specific about mall Santa visits (yet), but recently updated its website regarding Thanksgiving activities and lists “going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving” as a high-risk activity, so it’s likely the CDC isn’t going to be recommending malls this holiday season.
If you tend to side with the CDC when it comes to minimizing your family’s COVID-19 exposure, an in-person Santa visit may not work for you (because even if he’s in a snow globe, the other shoppers won’t be). If that’s the case for your family, don’t worry: Many malls and local Santas plan to offer a virtual visit option (not that you need another Zoom call in your life, but at least this one will be fun). Just keep an eye on your mall’s website as not every shopping center has figured out its plan for safe Santa visits just yet.