No in-person Santa visits at Chinook Centre, Market Mall due to COVID-19

Neither Chinook Centre nor Market Mall will be offering in-person Santa visits this year in the wake of COVID-19.

Mall operator Cadillac Fairview announced Friday that both locations — as well as 17 other shopping centres across the country — would suspend the cherished tradition for 2020.

Instead, the malls will offer virtual video chats with Santa and virtual storytime with Santa via Facebook.

Read more: Santa still visiting Southcentre Mall this Christmas despite COVID-19

The company said its decision to suspend in-person experiences with Santa is based on protecting the health and safety of guests, clients and employees while also ensuring Santa is in “top condition” to make deliveries to children around the world at Christmas.

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“We’ve had extensive conversations with government officials, conducted consumer research, and spoken directly with our guests in order to get our approach to this holiday season just right,” spokesperson Craig Flannagan said. “We believe this temporary shift to online is the responsible thing to do in a very different year.”

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“While we know this may be disappointing for families who look forward to this annual tradition, we firmly believe this is the best decision and we are confident that our virtual Santa experiences will deliver all of the magic of the holidays.”

Read more: CrossIron Mills hosting new outdoor Christmas market amid COVID-19

Southcentre Mall, which is not operated by Cadillac Fairview, announced earlier this month it would still be offering in-person Santa visits — though St. Nick will not have direct contact with any of his visitors (which means no sitting on his lap.)

Additionally, the Bass Pro Shops at CrossIron Mills will be hosting socially distanced in-person visits with Santa.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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