Contactless visits with Santa still on at suburban malls
COVID-19 won't keep Santa from making his suburban mall rounds this week. But you'll want a reservation -- and need a mask -- to see him.
Plus, you'll have to stay at least six feet away.
The Christmas magic of seeing Santa may be stunted amid rising COVID-19 numbers and new mitigations, but it won't be stopped this season as malls adopt safety precautions and some feature virtual visits in light of the pandemic.
Santa's first local stops in his annual trek around the world are this weekend in Schaumburg, Rosemont and Oak Brook. At Woodfield Mall, Fashion Outlets of Chicago and Oakbrook Center, where Santa first met with families Friday, reservations are encouraged and everyone must wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from Santa, who will also be wearing a mask.
"Although it will take on a new look this year, we're delighted to offer visits with Santa this holiday season and bring some joy to our community during a much-needed time," said Katie Walsh, senior marketing manager at Rosemont's Fashion Outlets of Chicago.
Most other suburban malls will welcome visitors to their contactless Santa experience starting Friday. Santa will be at all locations through Christmas Eve. Reservations are required at Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee and requested at other spots.
A few malls are offering extra displays. At Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, families can expect a new walk-through, selfie-friendly set based on the Warner Bros. movie "Elf." A Charlie Brown-themed interactive set will entertain kids before their contactless visits with Santa at Fox Valley Mall in Aurora.
For those who can't or don't want to venture out, Santa also will be taking Christmas wishes online through some malls, including Northbrook Court, Spring Hill Mall and Oakbrook Center.
Check out the following websites for details about Santa's hours, socially distant photos, reservations and more:
• Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg: woodfieldmallsanta.splashthat.com
• Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont: fashionoutletsofchicago.com/holiday
• Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook: oakbrookcenter.com
• Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills: shophawthornmall.com/holiday
• Fox Valley Mall in Aurora: shopfoxvalleymall/holiday
• Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee: springhillmall.com/en/visit/holiday.html
• Gurnee Mills in Gurnee: gurneemillssanta.splashthat.com/
• Northbrook Court in Northbrook: www.northbrookcourt.com/en/visit/holiday.html