As people head about to celebrate the holiday season, they could be seeing fewer Santas.
According to the Christmas booking company, HireSanta.com, there are 10 percent fewer Santas this year. Founder and head elf Mitch Allen says the shortage is caused by a lot of reasons relating to COVID-19.
He says many Santas are older with pre-existing health conditions that put them more at risk. Allen says some Santas aren’t comfortable being in crowds yet. He says others hung up their red coats because of their older age.
Karl Shannon, of Lexington, dresses up as Santa each year. He says some of his fellow helpers don’t have enough energy to keep up with the big job.
“A lot of Santas are elderly, like me, not in the best of health a lot of times, and for some reason just do not want to get the vaccine,” Shannon said. “And to be someone that’s going to be around children, that’s got to be a no-brainer.”
Shannon said he will still dress up and visit with children this year with precautions in place. He said he encourages all of Santa’s helpers to be fully vaccinated and get their booster shot to stay safe this Christmas.
One of “Santa’s helpers” will be at Fayette Mall this year. Guests are encouraged to make reservations for contact-less payment. Families have the option to sit with Santa or stay socially distanced.
At the Kentucky Horse Park’s Southern Lights, masks will be required indoors. Santa’s helper will be socially distanced from guests.