BLUE ASH, Ohio — Even Santa is feeling the impact of the labor shortage. Fewer workers want to be Santa’s helpers at a time when demand for them is high.
With his boots, gloves and hat ready to go, Santa’s gearing up to see who’s been naughty or nice.
“This year’s looking like I can actually see the kids instead of being stuck behind the glass,” said Santa Claus.
It’s the first time since COVID restrictions were lifted that Santa will be able to visit kids face to face without a glass barrier.
But when he goes to visit kids in the Cincinnati area, he’s still not taking any chances with COVID.
“I got the vaccine shot. (I) wanna make sure everyone feels safe in what they’re doing around Santa,” he said.
But he got the signal from his elves that there’s trouble back at the North Pole.
“We’re estimating we’re down about 10%, maybe even 15%,” said Mitch Allen, founder and "head elf" at HireSanta.com.
That’s how much of Allen estimates Santa’s helpers are not working this year and he’s been keeping track of what’s behind the shortage.
“Santas are concerned about Santa safety because if they get COVID, they have a high likely hood of having a negative outcome,” said Allen.
He said they’ve been working to get some of Santa’s helpers who are concerned about catching COVID to do more virtual visits instead, but either way, Santa is checking those lists, staying busy until Christmas.