November 28, 2020

Coronavirus live news: Japan sees record daily infections; Russia exceeds 2m cases

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Christmas hasn’t been cancelled yet but meeting Santa and his little helpers is going to look different for a lot of people this year, with video calls that take children to the north pole replacing many visits to local grottos.

Socially distanced events are still planned in some event spaces in England, although they will only be able to take place once the national lockdown has lifted, as businesses pivot to deal with coronavirus restrictions.

Helen Nurse, the founder of Wonder Adventures, said their events were usually live but they soon realised that would need to change this year. “At Easter, we cancelled our event and took the event online … to see if it worked, and it did, so we did ‘themed stuff’ throughout the summer to refine it and in the summer we considered Christmas and we made the call that we were not going to take the risk to book live venues … so we planned for doing it all virtually.

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) said a survey of its members echoed this. However, others including the Royal Albert Hall in London, are still planning to go ahead with their experience, although it will be socially distanced.

Mike Battle, the founder of LaplandUK, a Christmas-themed park, said they could have cancelled their event but thought instead: “Father Christmas stands for children and I don’t believe he would let them down, so nor can we.”

Its event has doubled in size and a range of measures have been put in place to make it safe. “People won’t be allowed to enter the site without notification on their app … They will go through a process of waiting in the car before another notification on the app which tells them when they can go in.”

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