ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Area shopping centers are finding ways to keep the tradition of photos with Santa alive. There are some changes this year due to COVID concerns.
West County Center has a bench six feet from Santa and a basket where visitors can drop off their lists. Visitors are asked to make an online reservation.
Santa will be wearing a face shield this year. Face coverings will be required for visitors over the age of 5 due to the current St. Louis County mask mandate, according to West County Center Marketing Director Sean Phillips.
“We are definitely following all the rules to make sure everyone stays healthy for the holidays,” he said.
The Pattonville Fire Protection District started its own Santa tradition in the early 1980s. The department was the first in the area to take Santa into neighborhoods on fire department vehicles for kids to see.
“This Santa program is something that we just didn’t want to see go away,” said Assistant Chief Jim Usry.
The tradition resumed Tuesday night but with some adjustments aimed at reducing the risk of kids contracting COVID. Usry said instead of sitting on Santa’s lap, kids could stand next to the sleigh.
“We’re going to have a little social distancing there,” he said. “They will be able to see Santa and interact with him and his elves.”
Usry said Santa will make nightly neighborhood visits and will travel down every road in the district.
In addition to West County Center, here are a list of some of the places where Santa can be seen this year:
Mid Rivers Mall
South County Center
St. Clair Square
Santa’s Magical Kingdom
The National Museum of Transportation