Michigan governor invites Santa to tell kids to 'follow the rules' on COVID-19

Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerGovernors brace for 2022 after year in pandemic spotlight Protesters crash former Detroit police chief's gubernatorial announcement event Former Detroit police chief launching gubernatorial campaign vs. Whitmer next week MORE (D) hosted a video conference call with Santa Claus for children on Wednesday, during which he encouraged the children to “social distance, wash your hands and make sure you wear your mask.”

The video began with Whitmer introducing Santa to the various children who had gathered virtually for the call.

One little boy asked Santa if he had to wear a mask, to which he replied, “When I’m in my workshop with all my elves, we all are masked up and social distancing.”

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Another told Santa he would set out hand sanitizer along with cookies and milk, which Whitmer called “a good suggestion.”

And a group of children asked Santa if the coronavirus had reached the North Pole.

"Everyone has been testing negative. We're still getting tested," said Santa. "I think we're so far north that it might not be getting to us, but we're not gonna take any chances. We're all gonna mask up, we're all going to wash our hands and we're all going to stay six feet apart."

"What I would suggest to do is what the governor is telling all the people of the great state of Michigan to do: Social distance, wash your hands and make sure you wear your mask when you're outside your home," he added.

Whitmer chimed in: "Another way to stay safe during the holiday is to stay home, but call your grandparents and your cousins and your family, and it's the safest way to tell the people you love how much you care about them. This year it has to look a little bit different so we can stay safe."

Whitmer's efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus have garnered a great deal of pushback from Michigan conservatives this year. In October, the FBI thwarted a plot by a militia group to kidnap her and overthrow the government. Those involved in the kidnapping plot were allegedly upset at Whitmer's restrictions put in place to slow the pandemic, with one member calling her a "tyrant bitch."

In November, Michigan GOP lawmakers announced they would begin the process of calling for Whitmer's impeachment. State Rep. Matt Maddock (R) claimed that she had "crossed the line" with her coronavirus restrictions and "violated our Constitutional rights."

Whitmer has defended her authority to call for restrictions and lockdowns if necessary. Last week she extended Michigan's statewide lockdown until Dec. 20. The state has seen a slight decline in coronavirus numbers since the lockdown, but health care experts have warned that the progress is fragile.