With several months of social distancing under their belt, young fans of Christmas may be concerned about how Santa Claus could fare this holiday season as he travels from home to home spreading cheer during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, there’s some good news: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, says they don’t need to worry because Santa Claus is immune to COVID-19.
In an interview with USA Today, Fauci said that “Santa is exempt from this because Santa, of all the good qualities, has a lot of good innate immunity.” He continued, reassuring children that “Santa is not going to be spreading any infections to anybody.”
Other experts agree with Fauci that there is little cause for concern. Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, shared that while he has heard that “the ventilation in Santa’s workshop is not the best” and that due to the cold, “opening windows in the North Pole [is] problematic,” there is no reason to worry about Santa.
“The elves are committed to social distancing. Mrs. Claus has implemented a program of regular testing and the reindeers now lead contact tracing,” he said, though he also shared that he hopes that once a vaccine for the coronavirus is available, St. Nick gets vaccinated. Due to his advanced age (1,750 years old), Santa Claus falls into a higher category of risk for COVID-19.
In September, Macy’s announced that for the first time in 158 years, Santa Claus would not be at the chain’s flagship store in New York City due to the pandemic. While mall Santas have seen a steady decline in gigs this holiday season, some shopping centers still plan on having the jolly old elf visiting with children in-person, albeit with new restrictions in place.
Mitch Allen, the founder of HireSanta.com, which helps match entertainers with events and venues looking to hire a Santa Claus, told USA Today that venues that plan on hiring performers are taking extra safety precautions.
“They'll still have Santa, but he’ll be sitting on a sleigh and kids will be 6 feet away,” he said. Others, like the DeVargas Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, plan on setting up plexiglass shields for visits with Santa.