See how a Covid-safe visit to Santa looks in The Enchanted Winter Forest

The latest Christmas Covid guidance announced by the government has brought some much needed seasonal cheer – by giving the go ahead for Santa’s grottos to be allowed.

Grottos were allowed to open when the national lockdown ended on Wednesday – which was great news for all the children who are exited to see Santa after a strange and difficult year.

Father Christmas will not have to wear masks in Santa’s grottos and children will not be allowed to sit on their knees under coronavirus guidance, Downing Street has said.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We know that meeting Father Christmas is a magical experience for children which is why he will be taking safety precautions, including ensuring that he is operating in a Covid-secure way, but it won’t be required for Santa to wear a mask.”

He added: “It won’t be permitted for children to sit on his knee, as part of the guidance.”

Santa’s cabin is four times its usual size so he can chat to children from a jolly safe distance of 3 and a half metres away.
(Image: Craig Connor/ChronicleLive)

Organisers of grotto venues in England such as The Enchanted Winter Forest at Redfox Garden World are delighted with the news they will be permitted to open as they have spent months preparing their premises so that Covid secure measures and social distancing is safely in place.

The announcement has been a huge relief to Redfox Garden World which has invested tens of thousands of pounds to create an amazing ‘Enchanted Winter Forest’ at their site on the A184 between Whitemare Pool and Testo’s roundabout.

The staff have been working tirelessly to ensure all of the astonishing 15,000 online bookings made on their new 100% totally pre-booked system can be accommodated after a delayed start to opening because of the national lockdown.

Father Christmas and his elves will be working overtime to ensure he catches up on his delayed appointments and see all the boys and girls who come to visit the popular festive attraction which is now fully-booked from December 3rd, families are advised to keep an eye on their facebook page and website for the latest updates of any available spaces.

A cheeky elf riding a sleigh at The Enchanted Winter Forest at Redfox Garden World.
(Image: Craig Connor/ChronicleLive)

The online system has been created so crowds and queues can be avoided at the venue, all appointments must be pre-booked online so guests only need to arrive at the exact time necessary. There’s also traffic light system ensures each family bubble visiting the forest can do so at safely spaced five minute intervals and plenty of hand sanitising stations on hand too.

Inside the Enchanted Forest the socially distanced Mrs Claus and colourful elves are there to guide you towards Santa’s cabin which is four times the size it usually is this year so he can chat to children and their families from a jolly safe distance of 3 and a half metres away.

Santa will be working overtime to ensure he catches up on his delayed appointments and see all the boys and girls who come to visit The Enchanted Winter Forest.
(Image: Craig Connor/ChronicleLive)

Redfox Garden World Marketing Manager Jude Downing said: ”We are absolutely delighted that the government has officially confirmed that grottos can go ahead! We are so pleased we didn’t just give up and have been fighting to save this important part of Christmas for the children, and all those for whom the bell still rings!

“Please remember that our visits are all strictly pre-book only, and at this point we have stopped taking any more bookings, but keep an eye on the facebook page and website for the latest updates of any available spaces!”

Chronicle Live – Sunderland