Plexiglass barriers separate Santa from kids this year to stop him getting Covid

Children excited by the prospect of a trip to visit Santa Claus this Christmas face having to see him through a plexiglass barrier because of coronavirus. Traditional trips to visit St Nick and sit on his knee to share present lists have been banned over fears they could spread Covid, with new social distancing rules enforced.

Some malls have ordered children to stay six feet away from Santa to recount their list. And other businesses, including a Bass Pro Shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut, have installed transparent barriers to try and protect the elderly actors playing Father Christmas from a potentially-lethal Covid infection.

Their barrier is glare free, to allow for photos, and is wiped down after each child visitor, although some visitors say the new rule makes it harder for children and Santa to hear one another.

Other businesses have taken a more subtle approach and used fake gift boxes to form a festive-looking barrier between their Santa and his visitors. Mall owner Brookfield has employed those boxes, and also decorated one of its plexiglass shields to try and make it look like Santa is inside a snow globe.

Visit our live blog for the latest updates Coronavirus news live

Anyone lucky enough to get close enough for a photo will likely have to wear a mask to do so, depriving families of often comical snaps to enjoy when their children grow up.

Department store Macy’s axed its Santa grotto altogether this year, saying it could not guarantee a safe environment for the 250,000 people that turn up to see Kris Kringle at its flagship Manhattan store.

But many malls – which have already struggled because of lockdowns, and an increase in online shopping – are determined to continue with the tradition in a bid to boost flagging sales.

Retail consultant Michael Brown said: ‘You have to give them a reason to come or they’ll stay home and shop online.’

And Neil Saunders, from retail analysis firm GlobalData added: ‘Santa is the magnet that attracts people to malls and without that attraction, malls will struggle more to generate foot traffic.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]

For more stories like this, check our news page

Source: Read Full Article