BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – With a week left before Christmas Day, Local 4 took a moment to catch up with one of the busiest people during the holiday season.
This snowy Wednesday, Santa Claus made a socially distanced appearance in Birmingham -- and things are looking different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A 10-foot barrier was crafted around Saint Nick, nearly double than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended.
Santa also went high tech this year, meeting with children and families virtually on Zoom to share Christmas wishes and spirit.
What you may not know is that Santa spends his off season right here in Metro Detroit under the assumed name of Daniel Suttkus. As Christmas approaches, he packs on the weight, his hair turns gray and he directs many of his North Pole operations from the local area, dispatching elves to spread magic to children.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 struck Mrs. Claus this year.
“She was down for about three days with the fever and all of classic symptoms. She lost her taste,” Suttkus said.
Mrs. Claus is back to better health, and Santa is safe and well. He wants everyone to know that Christmas will still go on.
“Children don’t have to worry about Santa catching COVID and not being able to make his deliveries. But right now, before Christmas, we don’t want crowds to gather and we don’t want children to actually come visit face-to-face with Santa. That would be too risky,” he said.
While Santa is not out as much as he used to be, he wants families to remember that it is only temporary.
“We all want to take the proper precautions -- proper hand washing, wear your mask when you’re close to people in public and stay home as much as possible,” he said. “We know this is just a temporary thing.”