Great Britain

Santa’s grottos allowed to open this week but Father Christmas must wear a mask


SANTA’s grottos will be allowed to open this week – but Father Christmas will have to wear a mask.

And kids will be banned from sitting on the festive present giver’s knee to stick to strict social distancing rules.

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They will be allowed to open in all tiers – provided they are in venues that are legally allowed to open.

But school nativity plays will be allowed in Tier 1 and 2 areas with audiences – but Tier 3 shows will have to be live-streamed to parents at home.

The guidance said: “Performances by pupils, such as nativity plays and other seasonal events, should take place within existing school bubbles and avoid mixing across groups.

“Whether audience members, including parents, are permitted to attend festive performances will depend on the tier in their area.”

And carol services can still take place provided social distancing measures are in place – with no mingling for audiences or singers in rehearsals.

Door to door singing can still take place – provided singers are going around in a group of six and under.

The advice says: “If there are more than six people in total, each ‘group’ must not interact, ‘mingle’ or otherwise socialise.

“Participants should adhere to public health advice, including to ensure that you maintain at least 2m distance from anyone you do not live with and the threshold of any dwellings.”

The advice comes as a top SAGE scientist has warned people not to spend more than 15 minutes in a shop as they do their Christmas shopping.

Prof Lucy Yardley told Times Radio: "Really the less time that you spend in there, the safer you are.

“If you spend time close enough to somebody and they happen to bring it on you or cough on you, then it doesn't take 15 minutes to catch the virus."

Santa Claus is exempt from international travel restrictions declares Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney

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