St. Louis, Missouri 2020-10-07 20:00:00 –
(CNN)-Prepare for a nasty family photo with Santa this year.
The pandemic doesn’t prevent Santa Claus from appearing in shopping malls or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, but this year we don’t expect to touch Santa, hug Santa, or sit kids on his lap. Please. Some mall operators offer zoom calls with Santa instead of visiting directly.
Brookfield Asset Management Property Partners’ subsidiary and the second largest mall operator in the country, Brookfield Property, said Santa is in 134 of the more than 150 malls.
“Santa is an important holiday tradition for many families, but we aim to pivot the experience for safety,” said Roserbiniard, director of portfolio marketing at Brookfield Properties. According to her, the idea is to enable a “touchless experience” with Santa.
That means you’re not sitting on Santa’s lap, Viniard said.
Santa also wears masks in states where masks are obligatory, and guests must do the same. In states where masks are not needed, Santa can wear masks as needed, she said.
Brookfield said Santa and Mall visitors do not need to sign an exemption where masks are not a local or state requirement. Social distance stickers indicate where people stand, and many properties are specially decorated to keep people 6 feet away from Santa.
“all [visit] It will be non-contact. This allows children to sit and talk in a wrapped package near Santa or across Santa’s table. You can still capture the memory of your family’s photos, “says Viniard.
In some malls where Santa will appear from November 20th, he will meet and greet his family while appearing to be sitting in a huge snow globe. Elsewhere, Santa is behind a huge picture frame.
“Think of this as a drive-up window-type scenario,” says Viniard. “Guests can walk and talk to Santa before seeing a framed photo.”
For those who want to skip a trip to the mall, Viniard also said Brookfield will also launch a virtual visit to the Santa Experience starting November 1. Reservations can be made through the website ExperienceJingleRing.com.
Simon Property, the largest mall operator in the United States, said Santa would be coming to the mall this year, but didn’t provide details.
Santa behind zoom and plexiglass
Mall operator Preet, who owns 19 malls primarily on the East Coast, including Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey and Willow Grove Mall in Pennsylvania, puts Santa behind Plexiglas.
“It’s a plexiglass barrier, and Santa in each of us sits behind it. There’s a bench in front of it so children can sit and take pictures with Santa,” Preit spokesman said. Said Heather Crowell.
Another option is a zoom visit with Santa for the family from their own home, Crowell said. “Instead of a photo with Santa, you can record a zoom call,” she said, adding that reservations would be required for both direct and virtual visits with Santa.
According to Crowell, visitors to Preet Mall must wear a mask, but children can remove the mask to take pictures with Santa. “Because he is behind the plexiglass.”
Santa will be available in late November at 43 malls run by Maserich. Macerich said it will also implement safety protocols for Santa’s visits, such as social distance, wearing masks (if required by local governments), and booking to avoid congestion, Macerich’s vice president of marketing Kurt Ivey says.
According to the principal of a Santa school, safety is a top priority for Santa working on this vacation.
Rick Rosenthal, or someone who calls himself “Santa Rick,” has played Santa in malls and private events for 50 years. He is also the Dean and Co-Founder of the Northern Lights Santa Academy, a Santa School in Atlanta that holds training classes twice a year in spring and autumn.
Based on conversations with school graduates and other Santas elsewhere, he predicts that more than 30% of Santas who worked last year will not work this holiday season due to a pandemic.
“Santa usually has at least two categories at high risk for the coronavirus. They are usually individuals over the age of 65 and are overweight,” he said. “Therefore, even doing this job in a pandemic can be life-threatening.”