Macy's will not host Santa Claus in New York store for first time in 160 years
© Getty images

Macy’s will not feature Santa Claus at its New York City store for the first time in more than 160 years due to the coronavirus pandemic, the department store announced Thursday.

The crowds Santa meet-and-greets typically draw, more than a quarter million, have made it unfeasible to take precautions amid the ongoing pandemic, the store said.

In addition, the narrow, maze-like “Santaland” the department store builds would fly in the face of social distancing protocols, according to The Associated Press.

ADVERTISEMENT

In lieu of the traditional meet-and-greet, the company said in a statement that it will offer a virtual replication of the interaction on the store’s website.

“Moving to a virtual engagement will safely bring the magic of Santa Claus to children of all ages this year,” Macy’s said in a statement to the AP.

The department store has featured Santa Claus heavily in its branding since the 19th century, forming the basis for the plot of the 1947 film “Miracle on 34th Street.”

Santa appearances at Macy’s Chicago and San Francisco stores will also be canceled, according to the AP, although he will still make an appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The parade itself will also be altered due to the pandemic, with the floats, performers and balloons filmed in front of Macy’s Herald Square location rather than following their typical path through Manhattan.