London not allowing Santa Claus parades this year

Santa Claus Parade (BlackburnNews.com photo by Dave Dentinger)

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas won’t be making his usual trek through the streets of London this year.

The City of London has stopped issuing permits for parades for the rest of the year, meaning the city’s annual Santa Claus parades will not be able to proceed.

“This is to ensure we are taking every precaution to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. A parade makes it difficult to stay within the limits identified for social gatherings, and can also make physical distancing difficult to maintain,” City of London spokesperson Monika Guzy said in a statement.

London has seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases since the start of the month. The Middlesex London Health Unit has reported 95 new infections since September 1, 83 of which came in a less than two week period. The new cases are believed to mark the start of the second wave.

“While we know Londoners look forward to events like the Santa Claus parade every year, we’ve had to make many changes and difficult decisions in our efforts to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” added Guzy.

The London Santa Claus Parade, which would have marked its 64th edition this year, draws hundreds of people to the streets downtown. Prior to the city’s decision on parade permits, organizers stated on the parade’s website it would go ahead this year, but with a static display in addition to the parade.

Blackburn News has reached out to organizers for comment.

London’s two other Santa Claus parades in Argyle and Hyde Park also won’t be allowed to proceed this year.

A statement on the Argyle BIA Facebook page announced the parade cancellation and promises BIA officials are “brainstorming” other ways to celebrate the holiday.