(NewsNation Now) — He knows if you’ve been bad or good, but Santa Claus is going to need some help before the chimney dash on Christmas morning.
It seems 2021 is going to be especially tough on the man in red because the demand for pre-Christmas visits is sky high, and there aren’t as many people willing to put on the white beard and play the part of Santa.
The workforce of happy elves who dress up and become Santa for kids to sit on his lap or tell them what toy they want is down 15% while the need is up 120% from pre-pandemic levels, according to HireSanta.com.
The differences this year are twofold. First, Santas tend to be in the high-risk category for COVID-19, and some aren’t willing to accept the risk. Secondly, people feel more at ease with the virus than a year ago when Santa was virtual or behind glass, 6 feet away.
“Last year, it was all about a physical barrier. We put 6-by-6 plexiglass barriers. We put hundreds of them out across North America,” Mitch Allen, founder and Head Elf at HireSanta.com, said during an appearance on Monday’s “Morning in America.” “This year, those barriers are down, so that’s the good news.”
“But, it’s about social distancing. Most locations have Santa in a chair, and then children are 6 feet away in a well-ventilated location. So there’s no physical contact between the two,” Allen said, “And we’re hoping that will keep the spread of COVID and the flu down this year.”
The request from HireSanta.com is to be flexible when requesting a Santa and think about possibly having a second year of virtual visits from the big guy.
There’s always that third option of having mom or dad do the dressing up.