US: Across America, Christmas wears a different look this year, with fewer Santas greeting people on the streets. While some Santas have died, mall closures due to the surge in cases is another reason.
The International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas (IBRBS), an association representing Santas in the US, said 55 of its Santas died this year, the Independent reported.
Other groups also reported deaths due to the pandemic and because of the old age of their Santas.
Carlo Klemm, a founder of Santa’s Last Ride, said he knew of 330 Santa deaths this year and called it a “small tip of the iceberg”.
IBRBS founder Stephen Arnold said roughly 1,900 Santas belonging to the organisation were at high risk from Covid or were generally unhealthy.
“Santas and Mrs Clauses are generally fat people. Most of us are obese.
Many of us have diabetes, a lot of us have heart conditions or bad kidneys or whatever it might be,” Stephen Arnold said.
Carlo Klemm said the death rate among Santas was higher due to COVID-19.
IBRBS and other associations saw a 20 per cent increase in demand for 2021 despite several cancellations.
“None of our Santas were comfortable going back to the way it used to be,” Lando Luther, owner of The “Santa Experience” at the Mall of America said. “They don’t mind getting spit up or peed on, COVID-19 is the concern,” he said.
This year, Christmas celebrations took a backseat across the world amid the threat of the rapidly surging Omicron cases.
– INDIA YTODAY