Santa under plexiglass: Photos with mall Santas will still happen despite coronavirus

Christmas with a twist: Changes to expect this holiday season

Christmas will be here before we know it, and the annual traditions will still be there, albeit in a different manner than we’re used to.

There could be family dinners gathered around the Zoom screen.

Holiday shopping may be from the comfort of the living room instead of in packed, crowded malls.

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We can’t forget about Santa.

Families will still take the annual mall Santa photos in many areas, but the photos and the meet-and-greet will look very different.

There will be no more plopping a screaming kid onto Santa’s lap.

Instead, some malls will be offering Zoom calls with the big man, CNN reported.

Other malls, such as the ones owned by Brookfield Properties, will have a touchless Santa experience.

Families and Santa will be kept at a safe social distance from Santa with kids sitting on packages or across a table, and his visitors will all wear masks in areas where it is mandated. In states with no mask mandate, Santa will be allowed to decide to wear a mask, CNN reported.

Some Brookfield-owned malls will have Santa sitting as if he is in a snow globe or behind a picture frame.

A similar scenario will greet visitors to Preit-owned malls, where plexiglass displays will act as a barrier between Santa and families.

There will be a bench in front of the plexiglass so parents can get their annual kids’ photos with Santa.

Masks are required, but can be removed for the photo since Santa will be safe behind the barrier.

Simon Property Group will have Santas in person, USA Today reported.

Zoom is also an option, with the call being recorded for posterity, CNN reported.

Northern Lights Santa Academy in Atlanta said that there may not be as many Santas filling in for the jolly elf this year, expecting about 30% who worked in 2019 not doing so this year because of the risk.

Mall Santas can make between $5,000 and $10,000 over two months leading to Christmas, USA Today reported.

D. Sinclair, who is known as the “Real Black Santa,” told USA Today he earned more than $40,000 last year.

“Santas are typically in a minimum of two high-risk categories for the coronavirus. They are usually individuals over the age of 65 and they are overweight. So even to do this job in a pandemic can be life-threatening,” Rick Rosenthal, dean and co-founder of Northern Lights Santa Academy, told CNN.

Mike Hadrych, 72, who has been portraying Santa for more than 10 years, said he hasn’t been called for jobs, USA Today reported. Normally he’s Santa at about 70 appearances each year, with 20 or 30 already booked by this time in years past.

A Santa adjusts his glasses over a face mask as he attends a socially distanced Santa school training. Santa visits will happen this year but they will be different.
A Santa adjusts his glasses over a face mask as he attends a socially distanced Santa school training. Santa visits will happen this year but they will be different. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)