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23 Oct, 2020 00:28

Corona Grinch: Santa Claus won't be meeting children this year at New York's flagship Macy's store because of Covid-19 fears

Corona Grinch: Santa Claus won't be meeting children this year at New York's flagship Macy's store because of Covid-19 fears

Chalk up another casualty of Covid-19: The 160-year tradition of Santa Claus meeting children at the flagship Macy’s department store in New York City will be broken this year as St. Nick has been disinvited on pandemic concerns.

The iconic retailer determined that it would be too difficult to create a safe environment in the era of coronavirus for children to line up and wait to discuss their wish lists with Santa. Instead, Macy’s said it has created an online Santaland where children will be able to meet the elves, play games and take a virtual selfie with Santa.

That means that for the first time since 1861, Santa won’t be appearing in-person at the store. The move was similar to a decision last month to “reimagine” the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and replace it with a recorded, socially distanced event with no live audience. The parade has been a New York tradition since 1924, being canceled only from 1942 through 1944 because of rubber and helium shortages during World War II.

More than 250,000 people normally visit Santa at the Macy’s flagship store each year. Santa also will be skipping appearances this year at Macy’s stores in Chicago and San Francisco. Of course, Santa has been featuring in malls and stores across the country for generations, but Macy’s has billed itself as “The Home of Santa Claus.” Macy’s and Santa were featured in the classic 1947 movie, “Miracle on 34th Street.”

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Other Santa hosts are adjusting this year by taking such measures as prohibiting children from sitting on his lap and putting him behind a plexiglass barrier. Some malls will reportedly offer Zoom calls with Santa.

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The latest Covid-19 setback comes at a time when many children are deprived of going to school and socializing in-person with their friends. “This is more lost joy and lost time for children,” one Twitter commenter said, adding that the Trump administration is to blame. Another observer referred to “2020, the lost year.”

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