Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) said Monday that the state Department of Health has granted Santa Claus a rare waiver allowing him to skip a 14-day quarantine in the state but clarified that Kris Kringle would have to still wear a mask.
At the end of his prepared statements at a midday press briefing regarding COVID-19 updates and the vaccines, but before questions from the press, Cuomo adopted a serious tone when discussing an “unusual request” from someone to skip quarantine.
“We had a request for a waiver of quarantine. We normally do not do waivers of quarantine,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re in this situation, but people from other states that have a higher infection rate, or what we’re dealing with the U.K. now… as I said, no state is an island, so you have to protect yourself and that’s what the quarantine rules did,” Cuomo added, referencing the new strain of the coronavirus that has spiked in the United Kingdom recently, causing multiple European countries to halt travel with the island nation this weekend.
“But, we have an unusual request,” he said, then pausing for a beat. “But the DOH has been considering it for the past few days and they have actually granted the request.”
“Santa Claus asked from an exemption [from] the 14-day quarantine requirement,” Cuomo revealed, then chuckling, “because it would be impracticable for him to be in this state and then quarantine and still get all his gifts delivered on time.”
Father Christmas, however, must wear a mask when delivering gifts.
“The DOH was flexible,” he continued. “They have granted the quarantine waiver. But—Santa is required to wear a mask this year.”
Despite the jolly, bearded fellow wearing a mask, Cuomo thinks he will remain easily recognizable, joking about Santa’s appearance.
“I think you will still be able to recognize him, even though he’ll be wearing a mask,” the governor said, pointing out that Santa “does have a fairly distinct outfit that he wears, plus his body style is fairly distinct.”
“So I don’t think there’ll be any issue in identifying Santa this year,” he emphasized. “He’ll be able to do his job, but do it safely because he’ll be wearing a mask.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.