Forget sitting on Santa’s knee at any of Australia’s major shopping centres this year, as kids will be forced to sanitise their hands, wear a mask and sit metres away from Saint Nick to abide by coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Claus will be arriving in all Westfield stores Down Under on November 7 to take photos with excited children but things will be very different from previous photo sessions.
In order to keep everyone safe, all those wanting a Christmas photo will have their temperature checked and be seated 1.5 metres away from the white-bearded fellow.
Children over the age of 12 and the elderly in Victoria will be required to wear a face mask if they want a photo with Father Christmas.
Santa’s little helpers will also be socially distancing in the photos to ensure everyone’s safety.
In order to keep everyone safe, all those wanting a Christmas photo will have their temperature checked and seated 1.5m away from Santa
Children will not be allowed to sit on Santa’s lap, rather they will be required to be 1.5m away from Father Christmas
Westfield Group Manager Lillian Fadel said the safety measures are being implemented to protect everyone.
‘Physical distancing is an important part of our daily lives at the moment, so we’ve reimagined some of our much-loved Christmas experiences,’ she told Nine News.
‘We are focused on remaining agile to deliver a COVID-safe, festive and enjoyable experience for our customers.’
Ms Fadel also said instead of the usual portrait, photos will be taken in a landscape format to ensure everybody fits in.
‘That’s really just to ensure the photographer can capture all the families and pets at a safe distance away,’ she explained.
However, some photographers have decided against changing the age-old tradition and have instead opted to Photoshop Santa into the photo.
Mel Cross, a Brisbane-based Santa impersonator who has been working in the industry for almost three decades, said he is normally fully booked up for the holiday period by October.
The new measures are in line with coronavirus rules to ensure the safety of all people
He said the new rules have impacted business as people opt for the Photoshopping option instead.
‘This is just crazy, I’ve never had a situation where I haven’t had Santa bookings,’ he told Daily Mail Australia last month.
‘I have so many regulars that I’ve done over the last 20 years, councils and stuff like that. They normally book the same time each year.
‘How do you social distance in Santa photos? Have four kids a metre and a half away from each other?
‘In Queensland, I can’t see see any reason why Santa can’t be with the kids.
‘We wear gloves, we wear a beard you can’t breathe through. We can’t wear a mask, we’d look silly.’