What will visits with Santa look like this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

Santa visits amid COVID-19 pandemic

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Santa will not be quarantining this year, but he still will be following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

This will be a different kind of holiday season thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, including visits with Santa.

One thing’s for certain: There will be no sitting on Santa’s lap this Christmas season, but children will still be able to visit with him, share their wishlists, and pose for photos. Plus, Santa is also doing virtual visits.

But for those wanting to visit in person, here is some examples of what it will look like.

At Oakbrook Center, Santa will be in a heated tent sitting in his sleigh and children will be sitting several feet away on presents, so they get to talk with him and have their pictures taken, but everyone’s kept safe.

According to the Tribune, children will be able to sit in Santa’s sleigh at Water Tower Place before talking to him and having a picture taken with him from a safe distance. The sleigh will be cleaned after each visit.

“Because Christmas is so important and that visit with Santa is such an important tradition for families, we wanted to make sure we were able to keep that,” Rocell Viniard, director of portfolio marketing at Brookfield Properties, which owns more than 170 shopping centers and malls, including Water Tower Place and Oakbrook Center, told the Tribune.

The owner of HireSanta, a Santa staffing agency said many places are putting up a plastic separation between children and Santa, but doing so in a way that when photographers take pictures the plastic won’t be visible.

“It’s not going to be perfect. You’re not sitting on Santa’s knee this year," said Mitch Allen, owner of HireSanta. “We think it’s a great compromise to have the same tradition without putting the child and Santa’s health in danger.”

Additionally, any shopping location you see a Santa Claus, both Santa and the child meeting him will have to be wearing masks, according to the Tribune.

Visits with Santa, more often than not, will need to be scheduled ahead of time and, in many places will be starting later in November than usual.