Santa Claus is still coming to town amid a global pandemic; see the changes some retailers made

Metro malls are adjusting holiday traditions to protect shoppers against COVID

NORTH FULTON, Ga — We know it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but this year it’s going to look very different. Many big retailers are making changes to keep visitors safe this holiday season.

Malls and other shopping areas made the changes to ensure the kids will still get to see Santa despite COVID-19.

Channel 2′s Mike Petchenik went to Avalon in Alpharetta to talk to shoppers and see just what kind of changes this retailer made.

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The trees are up, the ice rink is nearly frozen, and Santa is setting up shop. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

“They’re going to disinfect everything. It sounds really safe. We signed up for the 11th to see Santa,” Sarah Linsin, a shopper said.

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At Avalon, the massive live-work-play development in Alpharetta, for example, they are having Santa’s cottage, but they’ve opened it up so it’s missing one wall. Santa will be 6 feet from the nearest person and everyone has to wear a mask, right up until picture time.

“We just want to be able to bring the magic of the holidays but doing it in a way that everybody feels comfortable,” Cayley Mullen of North American Properties said. “It’s definitely been a year of challenges.”

The main challenge, according to Mullen, is pulling off a pandemic friendly holiday event.

“We weren’t going to let this year go by without having Santa come to Avalon,” Mullen said.

Avalon isn’t alone in making modifications. The company that owns North Point Mall in Alpharetta, Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody and Cumberland Mall in Smyrna, is offering a socially distanced Santa experience as well. And for those who don’t want to come in person, well they can do it virtually.

“I think it’s important we go about our daily lives but do it as safe as possible,” Linsin said.

Avalon still plans to do the Christmas tree lighting, but this year the crowds will be smaller. Also, if you want to skate at the ice rink, a mask will be required.

Costco revises in-store mask restrictions, see the changes before heading out for holiday shopping