Santa Claus comes to town with plexiglass shields and virtual visits

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (WPVI) -- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this holiday season may look different from years past.

However, Santa Claus seems to disagree.

"Christmas? Look Different? Are you kidding me?" he begged.

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas listed off many holiday staples sure to stick around: holly, Christmas trees, wreaths, singing, drinking eggnog and giving gifts.

"What's so different about that? Santa asked.

Action News spoke with the North Pole native this morning via a Zoom call, which Santa is now learning how to use efficiently. It's one of the ways that PREIT malls are making sure Santa can spread cheer safely.

"Really, the holiday season has started now," said Lisa Wolstromer, Senior Marketing Director at the Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey. "Retailers are expanding their promotions and their deals. We're expanding our shopping hours. It's now until Christmas and we're ready to welcome shoppers back to our malls."

Eager families can now book a reservation using the websites respective to each participating mall: Cherry Hill Mall, Cumberland Mall, Moorestown Mall, Fashion District of Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting Mall, Exton Square, Willow Grove Park and Springfield Mall.

Wolstromer says the motto is "Holiday your way." Families interested in meeting Santa in-person can do so from behind a plexiglass shield. Other families wishing to stay home can reserve a recorded Zoom call with Santa.

"I am so-ho-ho excited about that," said Santa.

While each of these malls experienced their own shutdowns during the pandemic, they have implemented safety measures that will allow shoppers to return at their own leisure. Customers also have the option to shop online to avoid in-person contact.

To learn more about PREIT malls, visit their website.

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