FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Many children’s favorite part of the holiday season is getting to meet Santa Claus and his magical elf helpers. Glenbrook Square Mall is making that possible, even during a global pandemic.
Old Saint Nick is having to decide who is naughty or nice...from six feet away.
Five-year-old Elena is so excited to tell Santa Claus what she wants for Christmas this year.
“An American Girl doll,” she told him while smiling from ear to ear.
When she saw his long white beard and big red suit her eyes lit up with excitement.
“We did little fun reindeer together and told him what she wanted for Christmas,” Elena's mom Hannah Schlatter said.
Usually, children tell Santa their Christmas wishes while sitting on his lap.
General Manager Michael Lyons says that was not possible this year.
“We’ve adjusted our Santa set to allow for proper social distancing. That’s safety for Santa and safety for families that want to take a photo,” Lyons said.
Other safety measures Glenbrook is taking are mask enforcement at all times, reduced hours with breaks for sanitizing and disinfecting, and reservations-only unless time and space permits.
“They’ve tried to go along really well with it and they’re learning this is just a new way of life,” Schlatter said.
Lyons says that the few weeks before Christmas are some of the mall’s busiest, as folks rush to stores to get last-minute gifts for their loved ones.
He says seeing Santa stationed in the center of the action is a tradition that shoppers have grown to love and expect every December.
“The Santa experience is an important part of the mall shopping holiday times people like to have together,” he said.
Santa tells FOX 55 he’s happy he’s still able to hear what children want for Christmas, even if he has to wear a face mask.
Here’s a full list of Glenbrook Square safety measure this holiday season. pic.twitter.com/mONcoGm0Wc
— Nico Pennisi (@npennisiFOX55) December 15, 2020