coronavirus

Is Santa Safe? NH Task Force Says Yes in Amusement Park Plan

Santa Claus could be safe to visit this summer, from a distance.

Santa Generic Hat

Santa Claus could be safe to visit this summer, from a distance.

The New Hampshire Governor's Economic Reopening Task Force on Wednesday approved recommendations for the opening of amusement parks with restrictions aimed at containing the coronavirus.

While character “meet-and-greets” would be prohibited at Canobie Lake Park, the state's largest amusement park, separate rules for other parks would allow them in fixed locations if at least 6 feet of social distancing is maintained.

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“Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to have Santa Claus at Santa's Village,” said task force member Bruce Berke, referring to the Christmas-themed Santa's Village in Jefferson.

The recommendations, along with those approved for tourist trains, fairs, festivals and bowling alleys, now go to public health officials and Gov. Chris Sununu for approval. Those sectors of the economy were among the last to be tackled by the task force, which has begun looking to the next phase of reopening.

Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, said the universal guidance for businesses should be updated to encourage businesses to “be creative” in reducing the transmission of the virus.

“This is an important attitude and approach that we are going to take when we move and transition the state to phase 2," he said. “It is not, in our view, up to the government to independently say this business can do these specific things but not those specific things.

”The group also plans to consolidate industry-specific guidance into broader categories. Outdoor recreation, for example, would encompass campgrounds, attractions and beaches.

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