MERIDEN — The Meriden Mall will continue to offer visits with Santa Claus but don’t expect to get close.
“At Meriden Mall, we are working hard to bring the Christmas spirit into the shopping experience. It is our goal to make the Christmas season as “normal” as possible, while adhering to all CDC guidelines and regulations to ensure the health and safety of all our patrons during these uncertain times,” manager Chris Powers said in an e-mail. “Santa will be arriving on Black Friday, by appointment only.”
Despite the pandemic — and the fact that Santa’s age and weight put him at high risk for severe illness from the coronavirus — mall owners are going ahead with plans to bring him back this year.
But they are doing all they can to keep the jolly old man safe, including banning kids from sitting on his knee, no matter if they’ve been naughty or nice.
Kids will instead tell Santa what they want for Christmas from six feet away, and sometimes from behind a sheet of plexiglas. Santa and his visitors may need to wear a face mask, even while posing for photos. And some malls will put faux gift boxes and other decorations in front of Saint Nick to block kids from charging toward him.
Walk ups without an appointment are welcome at the Meriden Mall if there is an opening, Powers stated. To maintain a safe social distance, Santa will be positioned 6 feet behind the families and children who come to take a photo.
Meriden Mall visitors can make an appointment via this link: https://whereissanta.com/?skip-landing=1#9/41.551/-72.8077.
Information from the Associated Press was used for this story.