The Prime Minister has given Santa Claus a border exemption so he can visit Aotearoa to deliver presents this Christmas.
In effect, this means New Zealand’s first travel bubble will be with the North Pole.
Jacinda Ardern confirmed Santa won’t need to isolate for 14 days upon arrival and can freely come into the country.
“After much consideration, the Ministry of Health has determined the North Pole is clear of Covid, as far as we know,” she told the Herald.
New Zealand benefits from being the second country Santa visits because of the international dateline, so there’s little chance of him contracting Covid-19 before arriving here.
“He has full clearance. We’re all good,” Ardern said.
Ardern said she’d received a number of letters from children asking about whether Santa would be allowed to come into New Zealand.
But she asked children “for a bit of forgiveness” for Santa this year if he’s not able to make it to their house because it’ll be a bit more difficult for him this year.
For any children planning on visiting Santa in a grotto before Christmas Eve, the Ministry of Health said people should remember he was in the vulnerable category because of his age group.
The ministry urged “anyone wanting to tell Santa what they want for Christmas” to scan in using the Covid Tracer app, use hand sanitiser and if they felt unwell to send him a letter rather than visiting him in person.
Earlier this year while New Zealand was in lockdown the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy were deemed essential workers so could continue their work despite the alert level 4 restrictions.
The Health Ministry had wider advice for the silly season for anyone heading to a Christmas function, including to sign in with the Covid Tracer app or keep track of your movements.
“While Christmas is the season for giving, don’t give Covid-19 to friends and whānau this Christmas.
“If we can take these precautions, we can all have a jolly Christmas after what has been a particularly difficult 2020.”
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