Santa visits now include new safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic

HOUSTON – A holiday tradition will look a lot different this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At most locations, they encourage families to first make a reservation before arriving to visit Santa and families must wear masks.

Memorial City Mall

At Memorial City Mall, employees check temperatures before visitors walk into St. Nick’s Park in the Dillard’s court.

“We don’t want to lose all of our traditions, so it is important that we keep those favorite things that these kids get to do and experience as they go through the holidays,” said mother Melanie Wingo.

They’ve set up hand “Santa-izer” stations and markers to ensure social distancing.

“I was really appreciative that they were being extra careful with COVID precautions and I felt very comfortable with how it was all handled,” said Brittany Anend.

Children sit on boxes distanced away from Santa and they both wear masks during their brief conversation.

“We have a lot of health and safety precautions to make sure this time-honored tradition is something that everybody can still enjoy,” said Steve Nisenson with MetroNational.

For information and to reserve a spot, visit www.memorialcity.com/holidays.

Bass Pro Shops

At Bass Pro Shops’ Pearland location, employees scan temperatures and children meet Santa through plexiglass.

“(They’re)doing what they can so kids can enjoy it still this year,” said Dillon Welch.

The glass and a face shield didn’t stop Jolly Ol’ St. Nicholas from asking kids about their wish lists.

“We come every year, we’ve been coming here the last five years,” said one mother. “We were a little bit worried about the glass and not being able to see Santa like we used to, but it was not a big deal.”

For information and how to reserve a spot, visit www.basspro.com/shop/en/santas-wonderland.

Houston Zoo

At the Houston Zoo, all visitors must wear face masks during their time in Santa’s Workshop, except when taking a picture.

“Usually, I would sit on Santa’s lap, but this time we have to sit on the chair,” said young Nicole Wheeler.

The Houston Zoo said they wanted to ensure children had a special moment with Santa this year.

“We’ve created a little bench for the children and their families to sit on and then Santa is at his workshop,” said Jackie Wallace with the Houston Zoo. “We had to think about it a little bit differently this year, so we created a moment where we can socially-distance with Santa.”

For information and how to purchase tickets, visit https://www.houstonzoo.org/events/zoolights/

Sam’s Club

For those who want to stay in the comfort of their home, some places, like Sam’s Clubs, are offering virtual visits for their members.

Families will receive a picture and a video to share with loved ones.

For information and how to reserve a spot, visit Sam’s Club - My Santa Session.

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