Good news for 'extraordinarily well-behaved' children — Santa granted health exemptions in North

·2 min read

Santa Claus is coming to town, pandemic and all. That is, he'll be making stops across the North, as officials in all three territories have deemed him an essential worker.

The government of the N.W.T. has granted Claus a four-hour self isolation exemption despite current COVID-19 related restrictions. It's valid for the evening of Dec. 24, according to a news release issued on Friday.

The territory says the exemption is to ensure Santa Claus can "safely and effectively" deliver toys to children in the N.W.T. It was issued by Dr. Kami Kandola, the territory's chief public health officer.

"Santa Claus is as much a man of science as he is a cherished icon of holiday wonder and magic," Kandola said in a statement.

"He is confident the conditions of his Christmas Eve isolation exemption will keep everyone safe. Santa deeply appreciates being permitted to deliver toys to N.W.T. children, who he understands have been extraordinarily well-behaved during the pandemic."

Yukon's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Hanley also said earlier this month that Claus and his reindeer were welcome in Yukon on Dec. 24.

"We have not forgotten that Santa needs to get in, do what he needs to do, and get right out," Hanley said.

"Since they're critical workers, we have given them all the advice to help them stay safe while delivering their goods."

During a news conference Friday morning, Nunavut's chief medical officer said Claus will also be declared an essential worker there too.

Other rules still apply

To date, the North Pole has not had any confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19. The N.W.T. says Santa Claus, Rudolph and all reindeer and elves, who are scheduled to travel through Northwest Territories' airspace on Christmas Eve, have received specialized training via Zoom to keep the territory's families safe during holiday deliveries.

Claus is to deliver gifts to homes during the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for non-resident workers too, the release say. He must also follow strict rules during the exemption period to lower the public health risk of COVID-19 spread in the territory.

Claus is also required to wear a face mask while he is delivering gifts in all 33 N.W.T communities, the release says. He must "carefully monitor Rudolph and elves" for symptoms of COVID-19.

Hanley also said Santa and his reindeer will need to wear masks in Yukon. Masks have been mandatory in most indoor public places in the territory since Dec. 1.

In the N.W.T., the exemption for Claus was welcomed by Premier Caroline Cochrane.

"I am delighted that Dr. Kandola has personally reached out to Santa Claus this unprecedented holiday season to discuss evidence-based protocols to keep Mr. Claus, his team and all N.W.T. families safe during Christmas Eve deliveries," Cochrane said.