VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Santa Claus has always been a stickler for safety, even though he enters your house through your chimney. But this year Santa is closely following state and CDC guidelines related to the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Santa was at the Vancouver Mall helping to plan a safe picture-taking set with a Toy Story theme. Families are encouraged to call the Vancouver Mall to purchase photos and set up times in advance in an effort to keep the lines to a minimum.

No one will sit on Santa’s lap this year, but even so the actual photos won’t look much different than any other year.

Vancouver Mall Marketing Manager Bree Sanchez is next to Santa Claus during the pandemic, November 24, 2020 (KOIN)

“There will be an area 6 feet in front of him and through the magic of photography it will look like it’s much closer sitting with Santa — but it will be completely contactless,” said Bree Sanchez, the marketing manager for the Vancouver Mall.

The set has a hydrostatic cleaning unit that sprays a fine mist to disinfect everything every time Santa takes a break. The picture taking begins Black Friday and continues every day until Christmas Eve.

CDC: Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings

Driving around looking at Christmas lights is a COVID-safe activity, along with creating open-air living and dining areas in tents and garages. The CDC recommends that even open-air holiday gatherings be kept small and preferably within the same household.

The Nelson said they “usually have a huge gathering at my grandmother’s house. She’s in her 80s and it’s quite a party. But there’s usually 40 of us there. This will be the first time in my life that has not occured.

While the Nelson family bemoans the loss of that traditional gathering , they’re grateful for what they can do — like getting a picture with Santa.

Santa Claus wears a mask during the pandemic at Vancouver Mall, November 24, 2020 (KOIN)