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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

How to visit Santa safely at the mall during COVID-19

"We're doing our best to keep the mall and Christmas as normal as possible," Greg Morgan, assistant manager at Music City Mall said.

ODESSA, Texas — Visiting jolly old St. Nicolas at our local malls has been shaken up thanks to COVID-19.  

To make sure the holiday season doesn't go south, you'll have to make a reservation online.

"To ensure everyone's safety," Greg Morgan, assistant manager at Music City Mall said.

On the bright side, there won't be any lines to see the big man in red. 

Kids under 10 aren't required to wear a mask, but are encouraged to do so.

"When the kids come over and get their picture taken we'll of course make sure that their picture is taken without a mask, but Santa will wear one the whole time," Morgan said.

Kids won't be able to sit on Santa's lap either, but they can sit on a present six feet away and still tell him what they want for Christmas.  

"We're doing our best to keep the mall and Christmas as normal as possible," Morgan said.

COVID preparations regarding Santa visits started back in the summer 

They had to move Santa from the Dillard's court area to a set next to the ice rink to accommodate social distancing 

And they had to add mall security in case of an overflow of Santa visits.  

"In order to provide a safe environment for everyone we were going to have to make sure that if we wanted to keep normalcy, we still wanted to do teen night at the ice rink, we still wanted to do Santa, that we were going to have to invest in extra security to make that happen," Morgan said.

2020 has required adults and kids to adapt to keep things safe, but even with these new guidelines, the experience of seeing Santa is still as magical as ever. 

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Music City Mall is open for Santa visits 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., with extended hours the week of Christmas. 

Santa's final visits will happen on December 24, 2020.