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No sanitation shield for Santa at Concord Mills Bass Pro Shops this year

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 11:09 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2021 at 6:15 AM EST
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CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Families looking to visit Santa Claus at Bass Pro Shops at Concord Mills this holiday season may notice something different about the experience. Santa is no longer separated from visitors by a barrier.

“Santa’s sanitation shield is gone,” explained Eric Winter, the general manager of the store. “We do have a bench in front of Santa so you won’t be sitting on Santa’s lap, but you’ll be sitting in front of Santa and you can actually have your whole family with you as well.”

During the 2020 holiday season, a translucent barrier was placed between Santa and the visitors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Winter said Bass Pro Shops is no longer requiring the sanitation shield, but other safety measures are still in place.

The bench in front of Santa is wiped down between visitors and some of the interactive holiday games are not available, according to Winter. He explained that safety is still top of mind at the store.

“That’s our number one priority. We gotta keep the big guy safe so we want to make sure everybody has a great time and enjoys the Christmas season,” said Winter.

Beth McKeithan brought her kids to see Santa at the Bass Pro Shops Monday night, explaining that she was a little hesitant about her kids getting so close to St. Nick.

“For a second I was hesitant, but I like that they have them sitting facing away and I think it’s a good system,” explained McKeithan, referencing the fact that kids don’t have a lot of face-to-face contact with Santa.

The Hall family, of Mooresville, also visited the Bass Pro Shops Monday night for Santa pictures. The family members said they come to the outdoor sporting goods store every year for Santa photos, and they were happy to see that Santa’s sanitation barrier had been removed.

“I think it’s much better without the glass. You can be close with him and you can hear him way better, said Addison Hall.

Winter said visitors who want Santa pictures should make a reservation online before coming to get photos taken. He said he expects to start seeing more and more people come for Santa photos after the Thanksgiving holiday.

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