You better watch out, you better not pout: Santa Claus is still coming to town — despite the pandemic.
Politicians across Europe have spoken up in recent days to confirm that the man who knows whether they’ve been naughty or nice — i.e. following coronavirus rules — is himself not obliged to abide by all pandemic precautions, given his role in cheering people up at the end of a miserable year. The news is likely to come as a relief to the North Pole native given that his routine would certainly exceed even the most liberal limits for how many households a person may visit.
Belgium’s Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke and Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden wrote to Santa Claus earlier this month, telling him he would not have to quarantine upon arrival in the country, even if he was traveling from a high-risk area.
“We do recommend that you always keep your distance, wash your hands sufficiently and wear a face mask where necessary,” they wrote, adding: “A Spanish virologist also confirmed to us that your beard protects you sufficiently and serves as a mask.”
Meanwhile in Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte published a letter this month which he sent to a 5-year-old boy named Tommaso, who was worried the pandemic might stop Santa Claus from delivering Christmas gifts.
But Santa “confirmed that he always uses a mask and keeps the right distance to protect himself and all the people he meets,” Conte wrote, adding that it might be a good idea to leave some hand sanitizer out for Santa in addition to the customary milk and biscotti. Conte also said there is no need to tell Santa whether you were naughty or nice. “I told him that this year in Italy was a very difficult year and that you and all the children were adorable,” he wrote.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has received similar letters from children just as worried as Tommaso, among them 8-year-old Monti, who wrote: “Dear Mr. Johnson … I was wondering if you and the government had thoughts about Santa coming this Christmas,” suggesting he could leave hand sanitizer out alongside some cookies.
That would be an “excellent idea,” Johnson said in a response he tweeted on Wednesday, adding that according to his chief medical adviser, “provided Father Christmas behaves in his usual responsible way and works quickly and safely, there are no risks” to anyone’s health.
Further north, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in October that she knows “Santa will not be prevented from delivering … presents on Christmas Eve” as he is a key worker. “He’s got lots of magic powers that make him safe to do that,” she added.
The United States’ top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has also said that Santa has “good innate immunity” and therefore will be exempt from regular restrictions because he won’t “be spreading any infections to anybody.”
So even in the face of the pandemic, Europe will at least be spared a Blue Christmas without Santa this year.