Santa won’t be making in-person visits this holiday season at Red Deer’s two malls. (Black Press file photo).

Santa won’t be making in-person visits this holiday season at Red Deer’s two malls. (Black Press file photo).

Santa won’t be visiting Red Deer malls in person this Christmas season

Virtual holiday attractions are in the offing instead

Santa Claus isn’t taking any chances this holiday season.

Only virtual visits with the Jolly Old Elf are available to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Bower Place mall is offering families online chats with Santa, via Zoom, from their own homes, instead of the traditional sit-down visits.

Adwoa Yamoah, the mall’s marketing manager, said five-minute virtual visits with Santa Claus will be available between Dec. 1 and 24 and can be booked online, at bowerplace.com.

“We’re excited to bring the same joy to the community once again, just in a different way,” said Yamoah.

Through these one-on-one video visits, youngsters can still get some seasonal excitement, while staying safe during the pandemic, Yamoah added.

“The safety of our shoppers, retailers and Santa Claus himself, is our top priority.”

Santa is also skipping his usual in-person visits with kids at Parkland Mall.

Parkland Mall is offering Santa’s Countdown Calendar, which allows children to enjoy a different activity online each day.

“Due to COVID-19, we have reimagined our holiday events so that they are safe for customers and their families to participate in,” states a release from the mall’s corporate marketing department.

”While we regret having to cancel Santa visits, we are offering virtual holiday programs to guests. As always, we remain committed to the health and safety of our tenants, guests and communities.”

The COVID-19 situation is being monitored as mall management “work with local public health authorities to ensure we are following the appropriate guidelines and protocols.”

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