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Canadian malls say coronavirus will change visits to Santa

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Annual Toronto Christmas Market cancelled' Coronavirus: Annual Toronto Christmas Market cancelled
WATCH: Coronavirus: Annual Toronto Christmas Market cancelled – Sep 21, 2020

Shopping centres say meeting Santa will be just as magical for children this Christmas, even if it has to be at a distance of two metres — or via webcam.

At some malls, like Carrefour de l’Estrie in Sherbrooke, children will have a virtual connection to Santa Claus so they can tell him what they want for Christmas.

Malls managed by Cadillac Fairview, including Toronto’s Eaton Centre, are offering both a virtual meeting with Santa and an almost traditional in-person visit.

Read more: Coronavirus: 2020 Toronto Christmas Market cancelled due to pandemic

With the need to maintain social distancing, however, children won’t be able to sit on Santa’s knee.

Photographers will take pictures from a perspective that makes it look like they aren’t two metres apart.

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Some malls say it’s too early to say how they’ll ensure kids can still meet Santa while respecting public health directives.

Deny Belisle, a marketing professor at the University of Sherbrooke, said malls face stiffer competition than ever from online retailers and have to find ways to set themselves apart.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.