Macy’s says Santa Claus won’t be coming to its flagship New York City store this year to greet kids. Santa also won’t be making appearances at the brand’s Chicago and San Francisco stores. The pandemic is responsible for disrupting this holiday tradition, which started nearly 160 years ago. The company says that more than a quarter million people come to see Santa at this location each year, making it hard to create a safe environment during the pandemic.
The issue in all the stores is that visitors have to walk in tight quarters through a maze-like Santaland in order to get to take their photo op with Santa—and the area does not allow for social distancing. Instead, Macy’s will be offering a free online experience on its website at the end of November, where families can play games, get a virtual tour of Santa’s workshop and take a selfie with Santa.