Georgia Santa and Mrs. Claus Test Positive for COVID-19 Two Days After Event With 50 Children

Long County Chamber of Commerce

One of the many Christmas traditions that we look forward to is the Christmas photo op with Santa. There are usually numerous places where children can wait in line to see the jolly ol’ elf himself, tell him what they want for Christmas and smile for a photo.

This year, when we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, photos with Santa aren’t on everyone’s holiday to-do list. Some locations that would normally have an event centered around Santa have opted to rethink the event and turn it into a virtual experience that takes place on a computer or smartphone.

Other communities are choosing to keep the celebration as close to normal as possible while still trying to keep everyone safe. One such community is Long County in Georgia.

On December 11, 2020, the Long County Chamber of Commerce posted a photo on Facebook that showed Santa and Mrs. Claus riding through town on a firetruck. The caption on the photo explained, “Santa Clause and Mrs. Clause came to town tonight on our fire truck!! We had so much fun with him at the Ludowici Christmas Parade. We hope all the boys and girls enjoyed getting to see them. Merry Christmas!”

It sounds like a very Merry Christmas and a festive event. Many children lined up to have their picture taken with Santa including Long County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robert Parker’s own children.

Unfortunately, after the event was over, Santa found out that he had tested positive for COVID-19. That means that all of the children and community members he saw at the event were exposed to COVID-19.

In a statement posted on the Long County Board of Commissioners website, Parker tried to downplay the seriousness of the COVID-19 exposure. He explained, “While this is cause for concern, I feel that it is important to note that exposures happen every day as we go about our day to day lives, often without any knowledge.”

Parker went on to explain that he has known Santa and Mrs Claus for a long time, and he knows that the couple would not have knowingly done anything to intentionally harm any children. He also explained that the board does not regret the decision to hold their traditional holiday festivities.

That’s great, but you can’t take back the fact that the children were exposed to COVID-19.

In response, Long Country schools ask that children who were at the event or children who are having any symptoms of COVID-19 stay home and attend school online until after winter break is over.

Have you taken your children to see Santa this year? Do you think it’s a bad idea to continue with traditional holiday festivities despite COVID-19?