Santa Claus makes his way through the Cottonwood Centre shopping mall during his big arrival in 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Santa Claus makes his way through the Cottonwood Centre shopping mall during his big arrival in 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Santa’s Cottonwood Centre visits in Chilliwack cancelled by COVID

Provincial health orders mean Santa won’t be able to visit children, even with physical distancing

While Santa Claus will still be visiting homes on Christmas Eve, he won’t be allowed to make his usual visits to the Cottonwood Centre shopping mall.

With strict provincial health orders in place to combat the spread of COVID-19, the Fraser Health Authority has asked the jolly old elf to stay away. Père Noël is known to draw a crowd, and even with measures put in place by Cottonwood Centre, his presence would increase the risk to children and families coming to get their pictures taken.

The mall had planned to have Saint Nicholas there starting Nov. 27, seeing children in a physically-distanced way.

Parents were required to reserve a spot in advance, with no drop-ins allowed.

“Although we had created a very safe Santa Photo experience for our customers, we (and all shopping centres) have been directed by the Fraser Health Authority to cancel our photos with Santa, due to the latest provincial health orders regarding indoor holiday activities,” a post on the Cottonwood Centre Facebook page said. “Although we understand the very important goal of these orders, we are sorry to have to disappoint those of you who had booked a visit with us.”

Anyone who paid a registration fee will receive a refund.

READ MORE: Christmas will be different, even if Santa is probably immune to COVID, says B.C.’s top doctor

READ MORE: Sorry Grinch. Virus won’t stop NORAD from tracking Santa

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