Santa will be socially distant, or virtual, at Memphis area malls

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — COVID changed a lot of things this year, and even Santa isnt immune from the effects of it.

Malls, holiday gathering spots for Santa and his visitors, are rethinking things.

‘We will keep the tradition alive,” Oak Court Mall general manager Carmen King said. “Of course things will need to be very different.”

Kids will not be allowed to sit on Santa’s lap, she said, and Santa will be separated from guests “in a very creative way this year.”

Parents and children will still be able to see St. Nick and take pictures but they will be separated by a partition.

At Carriage Crossing mall in Collierville, the Santa you see will be virtual.

They are creating a Wonderland interactive photo experience with Santa, where small groups can visit five areas like the North Pole and Winter Wonderland, and take traditional holiday photos. Kids can mail letters to Santa, and get a glimpse of him.

Malls around the country are finding new ways to keep safe during the pandemic and keep the holiday tradition.

Southland Mall says its Santa arrival has always been popular because it features a Black Santa.

But this year Santa won’t be on site. Instead kids can visit him via their computer.

“If we have a live Santa in the mall, I am sure there are many people who would not want their children to go up to a stranger as Santa because of the fear of COVID,” general manager Norman Johns said. 

Instead they will post signs around the mall letting visitors know Santa will be on line this year.

No one can truly gauge if parents will feel safe bringing out their kids but they don’t want to miss offering the holiday experience.

“During a challenging time due to COVID, it’s important that we keep Christmas traditions alive,: King said.  

Oak Court Mall says its socially distant Santa will make his appearance on Black Friday.

Wolfchase Galleria is still deciding how they will do Santa visits this year.

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