Juneau is promoting the return of a socially distant and Covid-minded Santa Claus parade later this month. The popular annual gathering typically draws large crowds of families and children along the streets of Alaska’s capital city.
Sponsored by local firefighters, the aim is to bring holiday cheer to Juneau, featuring Santa as the guest of honor atop a fire engine.
In announcing this year’s event, the City of Juneau published the parade routes and then used outdated CDC guidelines to warn participants to maintain a six-foot distance from “those outside your bubble,” while also instructing parade goers to take care to “wear masks when social distancing is not possible.”
Those directives, while familiar, are also several months out of date, according to the CDC. In August, the federal agency stopped its incessant recommendations that everyone keep six feet apart, and it no longer advocates for universal masking in public settings, regardless of whether people can maintain a six-foot distance from one another.
The outdated Juneau notice, however, appears to be tailored for those with heightened fears about the virus. It notes that all candy canes given out during the parade will be “individually wrapped and distributed by volunteers in masks.”
Overall, the Covid risk in Juneau is listed as “low,” with zero Covid patients hospitalized, according to the latest information from the CDC.
While photos of past parades show Santa hugging adoring children, it’s not clear that this year’s guidelines will allow for any up-close interactions with jolly old St. Nick.
— On Friday, Dec. 16, at 6 p.m., Santa will begin his Mendenhall Valley route at Glacier Valley Elementary School and end at Glacier Valley Church of God.
— On Saturday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m., Santa will visit Gruening Park in Lemon Creek.
— On Saturday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m., Santa will begin his Downtown and Douglas route at Mount Roberts Tramway and end at Douglas Fire Station.