GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Visiting Santa Claus is looking a lot different this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Retail stores around the country are making major changes to keep children and their families safe.
Safety guidelines vary from store to store but no one will be sitting on Santa’s lap this year.
The retailers that chose not to cancel altogether had to come up with a creative plan.
“We have a safety shield between Santa and the child,” said Bass Pro Shop Manager Mike Graber.
The Bass Pro Shop in Gwinnett County is calling it the “Contactless Claus Visit.” Since the beginning of November, Santa has been meeting with children behind a clear barrier.
“The majority are just glad they are going to get to see Santa this year because many thought they weren’t going to get that,” said Graber.
Most retailers are requiring families to make a reservation first and depending on the location, some stores are also requiring masks and/or temperature screenings.
Patrick and Elizabeth Hearn had to explain to their three children why they couldn’t sit on Santa’s lap this year.
“It’s a lot different but kids are resilient,” Elizabeth Hearn said. “We were just excited that they were going to have it this year.”
It’s one tradition that some families are not willing to give up, trying to hold onto some sort of normalcy after a year that has been anything but normal.
“What’s Christmas without Santa?” asked Graber.
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