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Coronavirus: Santa Claus granted travel exemption for Christmas in Ottawa

Ottawa residents can leave cookies, milk — and maybe a bottle of hand sanitizer — out for Santa Claus this year, health officials confirmed Friday. Getty Images

Ottawa’s top health officials have granted a special travel exemption to Santa Claus to avoid any disruption to holiday gift-giving this year, with a promise that Father Christmas will be following all necessary COVID-19 protocols during his visit.

Ottawa Public Health has advised residents to avoid travelling for the holidays this year amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, instead encouraging families to celebrate within their households or virtually with friends and loved ones.

That advice might help to stem the spread of the virus during the normally busy holiday season, but also presents problems for Kris Kringle’s annual Christmas Eve visit.

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Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Dr. Vera Etches, the city’s top doctor, are getting out ahead of such concerns.

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Santa Claus has officially been granted a travel exemption “to allow him to deliver gifts to households across Ottawa on Christmas Eve,” according to a statement released from the mayor’s office on Friday.

Read more: Pandemic not stopping Santa from flying into Regina malls this season for photo-ops

The statement includes a clause that the Claus must maintain physical distancing measures during his visits.

Though not explicitly stated, it is likely advised that kids remain snuggled in their beds during Santa’s visits and resist the temptation to sneak a peek at Ol’ St. Nick — for public health reasons, naturally.

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