Santa Claus to return to the Santa House this holiday season but with changes due to COVID-19November 5th, 2020
In a time of uncertainty Santa Claus will return to the Santa House in Downtown Midland this holiday season on Saturday, November 28. However, the Santa House will operate differently this year due to COVID-19.
The Santa House, located at the corner of M-20 and Main Street, is a holiday staple in the Midland community. The present house was built in 1987, with assistance from the Midland Area Community Foundation (MACF) and generous donors. It continues to operate annually, thanks to the donation of time from volunteers and to endowed funds held at MACF that support the yearly operation of the house.
“The Santa House is an inclusive place where any child can come share a free visit with Santa Claus,” said Sharon Mortensen, President and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation. “Although we’re forgoing the traditional Santa Arrival and Courthouse Lighting, we’re excited to offer two options for households to have Santa House experiences in 2020. We’ll be offering a socially-distanced, in-person option, as well as a virtual option via Zoom.”
This year, the Santa House’s operations will look different. Here are safety precautions being taken for in-person Santa visits:
- Reservations are required to be made in advance, allowing for contact tracing. Time slots are limited.
- Drop-in visits to the Santa House will not be permitted.
- COVID-19 screening for all households and volunteers will occur prior to entry to the Santa House.
- Masks will be required by all Santa House volunteers and visitors, with the exception of children under the age of two.
- A protective barrier, equipped with a ventilation system, will be between Santa Claus and households to facilitate a contactless experience.
- The Santa House will be disinfected thoroughly between visits.
- For those who would prefer a digital Santa experience, video conferencing time slots will be available through Zoom.
As in past years, volunteers will be called upon to facilitate visits with Santa by stepping into the role of, “elf.” Volunteers who would like to help assist with in-person Santa excursions will be surrounded by all the wonders of the Santa House for three-hour timeslots. Volunteers who wish to administer Zoom calls on behalf of Santa will be helping bring Christmas joy for one-and-a-half-hour increments.
“The individuals who graciously donate their time are a key component of operating the Santa House,” said Mortensen. “It’s our desire to provide as many opportunities for households to visit Santa as possible, but the amount of Santa experiences we’re able to provide will depend on our ability to fill our 265 volunteer time slots.”
Those seeking to volunteer and help offer the Santa House experience can visit midlandfoundation.org/santahouse or call 989-839-9661 to sign up for a time slot. Once volunteer timeslots are filled, those seeking to visit Santa will be able register a timeslot for households. The registration link for households will also be located at midlandfoundation.org/santahouse. Additional information can be found on the Santa House Facebook page at facebook.com/santahousemidland.
The Midland Area Community Foundation is following CDC guidelines and actively consulting with the County of Midland Health Department. All Santa House visits are subject to change based on current local, state, and national guidance. The health and safety of Santa, visitors, and volunteers are a top priority for Midland Area Community Foundation.
For questions related to the Santa House or anything else MACF related, contact MACF directly at 989-839-9661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.