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Christmas during the pandemic means socially-distant pictures with Santa

Shops and malls across Southwest Florida are changing the way children get their holiday photos taken. Because of the pandemic, this year’s pictures with Santa include social distancing.

But for some families, like The Graves, it’s better than not seeing Santa at all. “This is his first professional picture since the day he was born because he was born in a pandemic,” said Dyanne Graves.

Dyanne Graves and her family came to Coastland Mall in Naples to get her grandson’s first photo taken with Santa.

“I want to share the pictures with everyone. The whole family,” Graves said.

In an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, families will sit on a bench near Santa, in masks of course. hand sanitizer will be given out in line. And there will be social distancing markers to keep people safe.

Despite all of these changes, nothing has changed the joy Santa brings to the kids.

Isaiah Calamito is the manager of photos with Santa at Coastland Mall. “Even though we are wearing these masks I know they are smiling underneath,” Calamito said.

Santa says he’s excited to be able to still see children while keeping everyone safe. “Kids are very resilient. They understand you wouldn’t think that they would but they all wear a mask. They all come in they are social distant they do what they’re suppose to do,” Santa said.

Even having to wear a mask won’t stop Christmas from coming. “Christmas only comes once a year and it’s for the young they need to enjoy it,” said Graves.

Other SWFL malls are taking similar steps to keep this tradition intact while making sure it’s safe for everyone. Edison Mall in Fort Myers and The Port Charlotte Town Center are also doing socially-distant photos with Santa.

Reporter:Zach Oliveri
Writer:Drew Hill
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