Visit Santa at Ottawa’s malls this holiday season, but from six feet away

OTTAWA — You will still be able to see Santa Claus at Ottawa malls this holiday season, but from a distance.

Shopping centres in the capital are making plans for Santa’s arrival during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Customers won’t be able to get within two metres of the workshop, but you’re still going to be able to have that chat with Santa and capture the photo of the experience,” said Sara MacDonald, marketing manager of Bayshore Shopping Centre.

While there will be no direct contact with Santa at all, a COVID-19 friendly photo-op will go ahead at Bayshore Shopping Centre, Billings Bridge, Rideau Centre, Carlingwood Shopping Centre and St Laurent.

Along with physical distancing, there will be regular screening and sanitization.  You’ll have to reserve a time slot for a picture online. 

A spokesperson with St Laurent Shopping Centre said photographers will take pictures from an angle so the physical distancing isn’t overly obvious.

At Bayshore, appointments are five-minutes long and you’ll get a digital copy of the photo with Santa. Proceeds from the $10 picture will go towards the Ottawa Food Bank.

Cadillac Fairview, which operates the Rideau Centre, says kids can meet Santa virtually this year, as well. Jolly Old Saint Nicholas will be doing special video calls.

“We understand that Canadians want holiday experiences, but safety is paramount,” said Craig Flannagan, VP of Marketing with Cadillac Fairview.

“As we finalize our experiences for this holiday season, we are hyper-focused on providing a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience for our guests with reimagined experiences and offerings.”

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