The physical experience with Santa has been canceled at 19 supermarkets across Canada.
Canadian children eagerly awaiting a visit with Santa Claus at their local mall will have to prepare for a very different experience this year.
One of Canada’s supermarket workers cancels a visit to Santa in person amid growing cases of COVID-19 in states including Ontario.
Cadillac Fairview Corporation Ltd. said on Friday it stopped what was happening in Santa at all 19 of its shopping centers, including the Eaton Center and Fairview Mall in Toronto, and the Pacific Center in Vancouver.
The company also has supermarkets in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and New Brunswick.
“While we know that this can be frustrating for families looking forward to this annual practice, we strongly believe this is the best decision,” Craig Flannagan, vice president of marketing at Cadillac Fairview, said in a statement.
Cadillac Fairview had been offering a personal booking in Santa recently on Thursday. It was planned to limit visits to Santa for nine people in just over five minutes and issue a policy of masking and cleaning up travelers among tourists.
Cadillac Fairview will instead provide time to discuss Santa’s stories in French and English on Facebook for families and will allow people to book individual video chats with this funny man from the North Pole.
The machine, which will not lead to job losses, came after extensive discussions with government officials and consumers, Flannagan said.
“Similar to what we have seen with other important events such as weddings and birthday parties, we believe that this online transition is temporary and should be done in a very different year,” he said.
On the same day that Cadillac Fairview renewed its plans, Ontario reported 1,396 new cases of COVID-19 and linked 17 deaths in the province to the virus.
Several states have experienced significant growth in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. Some are under new restrictions – at least in some regions – as authorities are busy controlling the spread of the disease.
Cadillac Fairview has already adopted diversion and navigation systems, called for staff to wear protective equipment and increased cleaning of the affected areas.
Some shop operators have told CBC News in a statement that they are still weighing their options when it comes to Santa’s visit.
Ivanhoé Cambridge, who works for Tsawwassen Mills and Metrotown Burnaby, said the situation was “under consideration” in British Columbia and had not yet decided what to do with its major state complexes.