Mall Santas are back, but visits will be different this year

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A global pandemic is no match for Santa Claus.

Kids will still be able to visit St. Nick this year, with some COVID-19 safety modifications.

Meeting Santa Claus is an important part of the holiday season, said Darren Iverson, general manager of the Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco.

“There’s a lot of families that it’s part of their traditions to come out and get their photo with their children and their families,” he told KCBS Radio. “Especially for Stonestown, there’s families that have brought their kids there for years.”

So, Iverson said Santa will be at the Galleria every day to chat with children this season.

“There’s definitely differences this year,” Iverson noted. “So, the common areas are required to be closed. So, he’s in a storefront area adjacent to where we have our large tree.”

Advanced reservations are required, and there is no sitting on Santa’s lap. Kids sit on a bench six feet away and tell him what they want for the holidays.

Iverson added that families also can skip the in-person visit and sign up to chat with Santa online.