Santa Claus: Covid-19 won’t cancel Christmas

Reassurance comes as many countries around the world have brought back travel restrictions, rules on gatherings and other measures to stem the rising number of cases

Santa says Covid-19 won't cancel Christmas

Santa says Covid-19 won't cancel Christmas
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Covid-19 has upended daily life in nearly every corner of the globe. Events have been cancelled, gatherings postponed and major life moments have been forced online.

But, Finland’s Santa Claus has a message of reassurance for worried children around the world as numerous countries reimpose new restrictions amid rising cases – despite everything going on, Christmas will not be cancelled.

In an early Christmas message as he answers post sent in from around the world, Santa responded to a little boy called David who was worried the festive season would be postponed this year.

The jolly St Nicholas reassured the youngster that Christmas would not be cancelled but to remember, “one of the most important wonderful aspects of Christmas is spending time together” before a helpful elf reminds watchers that they should do so while following relevant public health guidelines in their areas.

Finland’s arctic wonderland attracts thousands of children annually and Santa’s post office in Rovaniemi receives letters from across the globe from youngsters revealing their wishes for Christmas.

The greatest wish from Finland’s Santa this year? That everyone stays safe.

Countries around the world are contending with a second wave of the virus and bringing in new restrictions. Many worry that travel and gatherings over the festive period will not be possible.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened in Germany over the past week and renewed calls for people to reduce contact with others, avoid travel and follow hygiene rules. Germany exceeded 10,000 deaths on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Spain’s prime minister plans to hold an extraordinary cabinet meeting to declare a national state of alarm, which would enable the government to impose greater restrictions on movement. Italy is considering further curfews from Sunday.

Polish President Andrzej Duda tested positive for Covid-19, the latest in a line of global leaders to have caught the virus, including US President Donald Trump, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president. The mayor of Istanbul also has Covid-19.

FILE - Garrett Folts, 7, left, looks at a Macy's Santa Claus window display with his brother Cameron, 9, center and sister Chloe, 5, while shopping with their mother, Nov. 21, 2007 in New York. Macy's said Santa Claus won't be greeting kids at its flagship New York store this year due to the coronavirus, interrupting a holiday tradition started nearly 160 years ago. However, Macy's said the jolly old man will still appear at the end of the televised Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Garrett Folts, 7, left, looks at a Macy's Santa Claus window display with his brother Cameron, 9, centre and sister Chloe, 5, while shopping with their mother. AP, file

Cases passed 42.2 million and deaths exceeded 1.1 million, according to official tallies and the pandemic is nearing its previous high-water mark in the US after months of decline.

There is yet to be any word from the UN or other global bodies on granting Santa special permits to circumvent travel restrictions and skip quarantine rules in order to deliver presents on Christmas Eve. However, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said this week that Father Christmas was considered a key worker and was therefore exempt from lockdown rulings.

“If there are any kids watching, Santa will not be prevented from delivering your presents on Christmas Eve – Santa is a key worker and he has got lots of magic powers that make him safe to do that,” she said on Thursday.

Santa would not be the first-holiday personality to be given special dispensation to go about their business without worry over Covid guidelines.

Earlier this year, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy to also be essential workers exempt from lockdown rules.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez in March also made a similar exemption for the tooth fairy.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and an expert on the pandemic, went further in April to say that the tooth fairy was immune to Covid-19.

Several governors, mayors and local leaders around the world have made similar guideline exemptions in order to ensure children can still enjoy traditions. Montana Governor Steve Bullock issued a travel waiver in April for all “magical entities,” including elves and unicorns, to “freely travel into and through” the state for essential services such as leaving gifts.