Macy’s canceled their nearly 160-year-old tradition of hosting Santa Claus in their midtown Manhattan store because of COVID-19.
More than a quarter of a million people typically shuffle through the store’s elaborate Santaland each Christmas season, but the close quarters of the attraction have rendered it impossible in the age of social distancing, according to The Associated Press.
Santa will also not be appearing in the Macy’s in Chicago or San Francisco, though he will be making an appearance at the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which has also had to undergo adjustments to comply with health guidelines.
Macy’s is offering a virtual Santaland experience on its website, however. “Moving to a virtual engagement will safely bring the magic of Santa Claus to children of all ages this year,” Macy’s told the AP.
Many big malls are keeping their Santa displays, the AP reported, but children will be forced to maintain a six-foot distance from him.
Santa Claus is not the only holiday tradition to have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Halloween has also been spoiled in places such as Beverly Hills, which has banned trick-or-treating, trunk-or-treating, and giving candy to anyone outside of one’s family.
Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested that Thanksgiving gatherings might also have to be canceled because of COVID-19. As The Daily Wire reported:
Dr. Anthony Fauci says families might have to “bite the bullet” and cancel Thanksgiving this year.
Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who served on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, says COVID-19 is still a menace and the rising number of infections in the U.S. could endanger older people or those with medical maladies.
“You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected,” Fauci told CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell.
“That is unfortunately a risk, when you have people coming from out of town, gathering together in an indoor setting,” he said. “It is unfortunate, because that’s such a sacred part of American tradition — the family gathering around Thanksgiving. But that is a risk.”
“Given the fluid and dynamic nature of what’s going on right now in the spread and the uptick of infections, I think people should be very careful and prudent about social gatherings, particularly when members of the family might be at a risk because of their age or their underlying condition,” Fauci said.
Studies are emerging about the toll the lingering lockdowns are taking on young people, who have seen a spike in suicidal ideation, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). According to a CDC survey released in August, one in four respondents 18-24 had “seriously considered” killing themselves in the previous 30 days.