Local pediatrician offers recommendations for safe visits with Santa in COVID-19 pandemic

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Visiting Santa for family photos is a treasured tradition for many, but obviously a concerning activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So how can you safely keep the Christmas magic alive for your little ones?

Local Santa Gary Davis – who is deaf – provides a special experience for children just like him.  

However, due to COVID-19, this year he’s doing things differently: offering Zoom meetings with Santa.

It’s a growing trend as people try to find the safest way to visit the Jolly Ol Fella.

“I have seen several Santas in malls in Oklahoma City that are in snow globes so it is one safer way to see Santa and still experience that holiday charm – although in a safer context,” said Dr. Natalia Tutak, a pediatrician with SSM Health St. Anthony.

She says it’s important to know when you see others outside your home – there’s always a risk for COVID-19.

“I think the best thing to do is to take as many precautions as we can,” Tutak said. 

Local malls are adding extra safety measures this year.

Penn Square is offering a contactless Santa experience.

Quail Springs is as well – and has the option for virtual visits.

Tutak recommends virtual visits with not only St. Nic and anyone outside your household eliminate risk of exposure to COVID-19.

 She also says parents need to continue to monitor their children’s mental and emotional health.

“It is tough,” Tutak said. “I personally have seen some kiddos who are struggling with the changes that are going on. It’s a huge adjustment from their normal way of life.”

Malls are encouraging parents to make reservations for Santa visits to minimize the crowds lined up to visit Santa.

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