Santa visits will look a little different this year amid pandemic

Coronavirus

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Many things have been different in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with drive-by birthday parties and socially distant crowds at sporting events.

But what about the tradition thousands of children look forward to every year – going to see Santa?

Santa made time out of his busy schedule to speak with WKRG News 5 about what he’ll be doing. Specifically at Winterfest in Pensacola.

“There’s no way I would want the boys and girls to be disappointed and not have a chance to tell me what they want for Christmas,” said Santa.

This year, Santa is also taking precautions with COVID-19. “As you know, Santa is very, very old so that probably puts me in one of the groups that needs to be a little concerned. But, someone greater and wiser than Santa once said the show must go on,” he explained.

Many of the locations Santa will be at on the Gulf Coast will be doing visits with Santa a little differently this year.

At Bass Pro Shops in Spanish Fort, kids will have a contactless visit with Santa. You’re also required to make a reservation on their website.

At the Shoppes at Bel Air Mall in Mobile, Santa will be there on Black Friday. It will also be a socially distant visit.

At Bellingrath Gardens, Santa will be set up in “Santaland” in the Entrance Building with socially distant photos. The children will be in the foreground and Santa in the background. Santa will be at Bellingrath for Magic Christmas in Lights each night from November 27 – December 23.

At Winterfest in Pensacola, Santa will be socially distant from the children and will speak with them with a microphone. For the photos, they will use a forced perspective, to make it look like the kids are right next to Jolly Saint Nick.

“We are very proud of the efforts we made to maintain safe distancing but also to make sure the experience is magical and wonderful for the children,” he said.

Santa explained this year he feels like it is even more important to make the time for the children of the Gulf Coast. He explained, “I can’t even imagine what it’s been like for children. For a lot of kids, it’s been difficult. We’re just so happy we’re able to come back again this year.”

Santa also is reminding kids he has a list and is checking it twice. He said, “be careful and stay nice. And Merry Christmas to you all, my dears. “

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