Ho, ho — Whoa! Virus keeping most Santas at a distance


Santa Claus waves at children and their families from behind a transparent barrier at Bass Pro Shops, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, in Miami. This is Santa Claus in the Coronavirus Age, where visits are done with layers of protection or moved online. Putting hundreds of kids a day onto your lap to talk directly into your face — that’s not happening. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI (AP) — Portraying Santa Claus in the Coronavirus Age requires many precautions. Being over 60 and chunky might make for a perfect Santa, but could also signal the kinds of underlying physical conditions that lead to serious complications from the virus.

That has Santas this year wearing masks and face shields, sitting behind glass or visiting with children online. One thing few are doing: putting children on their laps for face-to-face conversations.

The pandemic is hurting many Santas — not only financially with reduced performances, but emotionally. The men who portray St. Nick say they like bringing joy to children. That’s hard to do when sitting behind a glass.

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