Trainee Santas in Britain are learning how to make traditional grottos Covid-19 safe this year, with festive red velvet masks, spaced seating and a contact-free transfer of gifts to children.
London entertainment company Ministry of Fun has been running “Santa School” for 25 years and this year started earlier than usual to reassure clients hiring a Santa and the public that it’s possible to make the experience safer during the coronavirus pandemic.
Trainer and organization founder James Lovell said there are three key changes they have advised on:
First, they’ve created masks, which are red velvet with white fur trim, just like Santa’s costume. We think children will feel comfortable with that because I think we underestimate just how used to masks we all are,”
Secondly, there’s the social distance grotto. Very easy to do and to have a child 2 meters away from Santa does not in any way take away from the magic.”
Thirdly, the school has invented a small sleigh on which Santa puts presents and which children can pull towards them.
Last year he said they had over 1,000 bookings over an eight week period for Santas. This year bookings are at half the normal levels. P
One performer dressed as Santa said: “We have to be a bit distant from the children and also the grown ups too… but the fun and the joy and the love and the magic will never change.”
It’s not clear how much Santas are paid for appearing in grottos, but said the job was is looks.
“It’s very rare that an actor will have to stay in character and improvise and be magical to an audience of one or two standing a meter away from them. It takes a lot of concentration.”
Covid-19 has caused a lot of change in our lives, nice to see Santa adapting.