'The million dollar question': Will you be able to see Santa during a pandemic?
WINNIPEG -- For many families, getting pictures taken with Santa Claus is an annual tradition, but with coronavirus cases climbing, will that even be possible?
“That has been the million dollar question. Ever since COVID hit, that’s been on our minds,” said Corey Quintaine, marking manager for Grant Park and Kildonan Place.
Santa usually pays a visit to Grant Park and Kildonan Place each year, and the hope is he’ll do the same again this year.
“We’re still working on some plans. Plan A, Plan B, Plan C,” said Quintaine. “We’re looking at every different option. Some malls are foregoing Santa all together, some are having a virtual Santa experience.”
Santa is scheduled to make a stop at CF Polo Park ahead of the holidays, though things will look a little different.
“We’ll have a distance between Santa and the people getting their pictures, as well as the people actually taking the pictures,” said Peter Havens, general manager for CF Polo Park. “Making sure that the area is sanitized between every customer.”
The plan will be to pre-book your spot online, which will eliminate the need for an in-person line. The pictures will certainly be a unique memory for years to come.
“Of course, everybody will be wearing a mask, including Santa’s reindeer,” said Havens. “If somebody doesn’t want to meet Santa, there’s also a digital experience online available that we’ll be launching.”
SANTA CLAUS PARADES
Another annual tradition for many that marks the start of the Christmas season is the Santa Claus Parade.
Other Canadian cities, including Ottawa, Montreal, and Orillia, have already cancelled their parades this year because of the pandemic.
In Toronto, their parade will go ahead, however there won’t be any crowds lining the streets. The Santa Claus Parade in Toronto will instead be staged on a closed set parade route, and then will be broadcast.
Plans are still being worked out for the Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade.
“As of early fall, we are exploring ways to create a safe and festive environment for the parade or an altered version of it,” reads the homepage of the Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade website.
Parade officials tell CTV News more details are expected to be released early next week.