Macy’s will not feature Santa Claus at its New York City store for the first time in over 160 years due to the coronavirus pandemic, the department store announced Thursday.
The crowds Santa meet-and-greets typically draw, more than a quarter million, have made it unfeasible to take precautions amid the ongoing pandemic, the store said.
In addition, the narrow, maze-like “Santaland” the department store builds would fly in the face of social distancing protocols, according to The Associated Press.
In lieu of the traditional meet-and-greet, the company said in a statement that it will offer a virtual replication of the interaction on the store’s website.
“Moving to a virtual engagement will safely bring the magic of Santa Claus to children of all ages this year,” Macy’s said in a statement to the AP.