Ready to take photos with Santa? 6 things to know before visiting the mall
Despite the pandemic - and the fact that Santa's age and weight put him at high risk for severe illness from the coronavirus - mall owners are going ahead with plans to bring him back this year.
But they are doing all they can to keep the jolly old man safe, including banning kids from sitting on his knee, no matter if they've been naughty or nice.
In order to navigate this Christmas season responsibly, malls and holiday experience operators are implementing a number of new safety measures based on guidance from health authorities.
Below are a few of the safety measures visitors can expect:
Face coverings are required for all guests ages 2 and up. Santa and his visitors may need to wear a face mask, even while posing for photos. Some Santas may wear a face shield too.
2. Physical distancing
Guests will maintain social distance while waiting on line, and there will be physical barriers where space doesn’t allow for 6 feet of separation. Some malls will put faux gift boxes and other decorations in front of Saint Nick to block kids from charging toward him. Kids will tell Santa what they want for Christmas from six feet away, and sometimes from behind a sheet of plexiglass.
Advanced reservations will be encouraged, or mandated, to promote social distancing, contactless payment and cut down on lines.
4. Reduced hours
Hours could be reduced, and no special events will be offered outside of normal business hours. This will also give Santa a break from the crowds.
Malls are also looking at increasing disinfecting and sanitation, and adding hand sanitizer in high traffic areas.
Check if there are special parking guidelines at the mall you’re visiting. Shopping centers and host venues may have restrictions and procedures in place to manage the flow of parking and guests entering, exiting their facility.