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Arts & Culture

Santa With A Sneeze Guard: Holiday Activities Take COVID Precautions And March On

Many holiday activities are on hold thanks to surging COVID-19 cases — but some seasonal attractions are determined to adapt to the pandemic era.

Couples ice skating hand-in-hand, people crowding around a tree being lit, and kids perched on Santa’s lap are holiday scenes that will be largely forbidden this year thanks to coronavirus. However, there are some events and attractions that will still open their doors with new precautions in place.

Here's a list of a few places in North Texas where you can still find a version of these traditional holiday scenes.

Note: This is not a comprehensive rundown. Check out Art&Seek’s massive holiday list for more North Texas attractions.

Galleria Dallas

Kids can still see Santa, but they’ll be six feet apart and separated by plexiglass. Reservations must be made in advance, and because parents are asked to submit their child’s name when they register, St. Nick can shout a very personal ‘hello’ from his perch. A microphone in the designated sitting area allows children to talk back.

The Galleria’s Snow Day exhibit is a touch-free walk through of very Instagrammable holiday backdrops and setups. Just swipe your wristband and the mounted cameras will flash — no button-touching required. Your photos will load straight to a virtual gallery and you’ll have a link texted to you before you leave the mall.

NorthPark Center

NorthPark’s beloved Santa, who has set up his cozy shop at the mall for more than 30 years, will only be available digitally this year. But kids who want to share their Christmas wish can link up with Santa for a virtual call and can loop in relatives outside their house too.

Santa will also offer virtual storytelling sessions each Sunday starting Nov. 27.

Gaylord Texan

The Grapevine hotel’s popular ICE! attraction isn’t happening this year, in part because COVID-19 travel restrictions have blocked master ice carvers from making the trip. So the Gaylord Texan is offering an alternative called “I Love Christmas Movies.” The walk-through exhibit is billed as featuring iconic backdrops, props and audio from beloved holiday films like "The Polar Express", "A Christmas Story" and "Elf".

Panther Island Ice

This outdoor Fort Worth ice skating rink requires advance registration this year to keep crowds under control. And before you lace up your skates, you’ll need to mask up. All skaters are required to wear a face covering on the ice.

Panther Island put together this list of important things to bring to the rink.

Got a tip? Email Courtney Collins at Ccollins@kera.org. You can follow Courtney on Twitter @courtneylc82.

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