Socially distanced Santa at Tysons Corner Center this holiday season

The COVID-19 era has accelerated Americans’ gradual move toward online shopping – but for some, the holidays aren’t the same without hitting the shops.

On Tuesday, popular Virginia mall Tysons Corner Center provided highlights of what shoppers can expect – with coronavirus safety front and center.

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Maybe the most startling change will be to Santa, who will return to the mall on Friday.

With social distancing as a primary safety measure against the novel coronavirus, the days of tykes sitting on Santa’s lap to request presents are on hold.

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Instead, visitors will have to settle for talking to Jolly Ole Saint Nick from behind a physical barrier to prevent youngsters from getting too close. Santa – along with all mall employees – will be wearing a mask, and a sanitizing station will be available.

Mall management believes its HVAC system and space will enable visitors to maintain healthy distances.


And, according to the mall, it’s implementing intensified cleaning and sanitizing procedures and meeting local requirements for mask-wearing. In addition, visitors will be subjected to social distance queuing.

They say retailers are also implementing safety features like contactless payment options, plexiglass shields at the register, social distancing and mask requirements.

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Signs will also be posted around the property outlining health protocols.

Some of the other safety features include:

- Extended hours to accommodate smaller crowds

- Curbside pick-up for some retailers and restaurants

- Virtual queuing – customers can receive a text when it’s your turn to visit the store 

Although not required, the mall is recommending that shoppers make reservations through its website. 

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To find out more about the safety measures and shopping features, you can visit the Tysons Corner Center’s website.