With you-know-what still stalking the land, fears have been raised about whether Santa Claus will be able to make his deliveries this Christmas. We’d like to put those minds at rest.
The following advice is tailored to the UK, but most of it will apply more broadly.
Will Santa Have To Quarantine Upon Arrival In The UK?
Anyone entering the UK must self-isolate for 14 days unless their country of origin is on the exemptions list. You’ll be happy to learn that Lapland (part of Finland) is on that list. Santa’s other home and workshop at the North Pole is considered in International Waters, and is therefore also exempt. No known cases of the virus have been reported at the North Pole (although elf and safety records for that part of the world are difficult to find).
It seems Santa has a free pass to travel the world unhindered. The Republic of Ireland has gone one step further and given official permission for Santa to enter its airspace. Simon Coveney, the Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs, recently announced a Santa exemption to the Irish Parliament, citing St Nic as an essential service provider.
I Live In A High-Risk Region. Will Santa Be Allowed To Visit?
The UK’s highest risk areas (Tier 3) are generally off-limits for public travel. However, travel into Tier 3 is permitted if it is for reasons of work, and that includes the supernatural delivery of presents. The easing of restrictions across the UK between 23 and 28 December will give Santa extra clearance. Although he can travel with impunity, his movements are restricted to those households whose children are not on his naughty list. There are no exemptions here.
Can Santa Enter My Home?
Most of the UK is currently under Tier 2 or 3 restrictions. Here, you cannot mix indoors with anyone from another household without a valid reason. Santa, you’ll be pleased to hear, has such a reason. Workers who need access to private properties, like plumbers, electricians and the magical bestowers of gifts, are permitted in law to enter your home. Santa will not count as part of your bubble and, in any case, you should all be tucked away in bed when he makes his fleeting appearance.
Will Santa Be Wearing A Face Mask?
Santa has lived through a lot of Christmases. He’s soldiered on through plagues, wars and pandemics beyond number. As a result, he’s always cautious about social distancing. He’s a master at it, living a thousand miles from the nearest town. Santa also pays singular attention to hygiene, and sports his own version of PPE. Every known depiction of our man shows him wearing protective gloves. His venerable beard is of such thick weave that it acts as a natural face mask. Further, his entire sleigh is given a dose of ionising radiation whenever he flies through the Northern Lights. Trust me, he’s been dealing with challenges like this for centuries.
Will Santa Be Getting A Vaccine?
Mr Claus would seem to be in a high-risk group; he is both extremely elderly and clinically obese. Santa is unlikely to get a vaccine, however. As a resident of the North Pole, he is not under the protection of any government or healthcare system. We can only hope that his supernatural abilities will offer protection from this virus. Remember, he’s lived through many plagues before without the need for inoculation.
Even so, we should all be cautious on Christmas Eve and not expose Santa to unnecessary risk. Ensure that all children are safely tucked up in bed well before midnight, and don’t be tempted to stay up and wait for him yourself.
What If Santa Gets Stuck Up The Chimney?
Please ignore his warning that “you girls and boys won’t get any toys if you don’t pull me out”. Under no circumstances should you approach or touch Santa Claus. He’ll be fine. His elves are well drilled in effecting an egress. He just likes to cause a bit of a scene. Oh, and if you hear him sneezing -- “Atchoo! Atchoo! Atchoo!” -- do not worry. It’s just soot, and sneezing is not a recognised symptom of the virus.
What If I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus Underneath The Mistletoe Last Night?
Erm, you better ask your mommy, kid.
Can We Still Leave Out Sherry, Mince Pies And Reindeer Food?
Of course you can. Mr Cringle relies on such provisions to keep him going. Can you imagine how many calories he must burn, visiting over a billion households in one evening? Food is not a high-risk transmitter of the virus, and his protective gear (see above) should ward off any transmission from surfaces. There are no documented cases of the virus infecting either elves or reindeer -- despite the very shiny nose on one of their number. Plus, he'll need a "substantial meal" if he's hitting the sherry.
Although originally from the Midlands, and trained as a biochemist, Matt has somehow found himself writing about London for a living. He's a former editor and long-time contributor to Londonist.com and has written several books about the capital. He's also the father of two preschoolers.