Opportunities to visit Santa are more limited this holiday season with the presence of COVID-19.
In another move to protect the public, Santa Claus will no longer be able to listen to children’s Christmas wishes in-person at more than a dozen Canadian malls.
Cadillac Fairview (CF), the company that oversees 19 shopping centres across Canada, announced the decision Friday, calling it “a difficult, but prudent” course of action.
Instead, visits with the jolly old elf will be added to the online repertoire previously released by CF, which owns and operates Calgary’s Chinook Centre and Market Mall in Alberta.
A full list of the affected locations is available on its website.
“We want to continue to offer our shoppers a safe and comfortable shopping experience and we felt with some of the increasing government restrictions, we decided it would be best to move Santa to a virtual experience,” said Darren Milne, general manager of CF Market Mall.
He added that all guest will be able to enjoy virtual Santa experiences online with CF Storytime LIVE on its Facebook page — prior bookings will be notified of this change.
Milne also said there will be no layoffs and contracts with staff who portray the classic Christmas character will be honoured.
The dean of Calgary-based Santa School says they are prepared for this pivot.
“We had a feeling that this was coming,” said Jennifer Andrews, head of program that train Santa impersonators for-hire.
“It’s pretty shocking but obviously the (public health) measures need to be carefully met with.”
She says they are preparing a truck outfitted to look like a sleigh for an open-air, physically-distanced Santa experience — and more details about drive-thru visits are coming soon.
WHERE SANTA IS COMING TO TOWN
Southcentre Mall, in southeast Calgary, is going ahead with an in-person photo-op with Santa with an adapted set.
The queue is physically distanced with floor markings, hand sanitizer is provided, an elf performs temperature checks — and sitting on Santa’s lap is not allowed.
Instead, he sits in the front seat of a bright red pickup truck with a transparent face covering. Children can either sit below the vehicle or in the truck bed for the picture.
“In a year where things have been so difficult we just want to have a little bit of a normal experience to the degree it can be,” said Alexandra Velosa, Southcentre’s marketing manager.
Parents and children say they excited to have an experience with jolly old Saint Nick.
“I want to make happy memories and when I’m older show my kids what we had to do when the coronavirus hit, with Santa,” said nine-year-old Eva Hummer.
“It’s pretty good to have the chance to show them that Santa is here and he’s ok,” said mom Creselle Boyo.
Velosa says she hopes the event will spread joy and not germs.
Tesla whistleblower Martin Tripp ordered to pay $400,000 to settle hacking case – The Verge
Martin Tripp, the former Tesla worker who has been embroiled in a bitter legal battle with CEO Elon Musk for over two years, was ordered to pay his former employer $400,000 after admitting to leaking confidential information to a reporter.
The settlement is intended to bring an end to one of the more sordid stories at Tesla, in which Tripp, a former process technician, locked horns with the billionaire CEO over allegations that Tesla was wasting a “jaw-dropping” amount of raw material as it ramped up production of the Model 3 sedan.
Musk later accused Tripp of “sabotage” and personally ordered investigators to hack Tripp’s phone and spy on his messages. Tesla even misled local police about a potential mass shooting by Tripp at the company’s Nevada factory.
But in the end, Tripp came out on the losing side. The payment is part of a proposed settlement to a lawsuit filed by Tesla in 2018 alleging that Tripp hacked the electric car company’s system and transferred “gigabytes” of data to third parties. As part of the agreement, Tripp admitted to violating laws related to trade secrets and computer crimes when he told a Business Insider reporter that Tesla was wasting a significant amount of raw materials during production of its Model 3.
Tripp also agreed to pay $25,000 to Tesla for continuing to reveal information about the company, despite being ordered to stop by a judge. Tripp had been publishing a large number of documents and videos online, including many under a confidentiality order in the case. In August, Tripp fired his lawyers and set about representing himself in the case. It was also revealed that a Tesla short seller, The Funicular Fund, was financing Tripp’s legal defense.
Earlier this year, a judge dismissed Tripp’s defamation case against Tesla, in which the former technician accused the company of spreading false rumors about him. After Tripp filed for whistleblower status with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk emailed a reporter at The Guardian telling them a tipster had contacted Tesla to say that Tripp might “come back and shoot people,” at the Nevada Gigafactory. The local sheriff determined the threat was not real, but Tesla issued a press release, which was picked up by several media outlets.
Canada's economy bounced back at record 40% pace in third quarter — but GDP still below pre-COVID level – CBC.ca
Statistics Canada said Tuesday the economy grew at a record annualized pace of 40.5 per cent in the third quarter as businesses came out of COVID-19 lockdowns.
The previous record for quarterly growth in real gross domestic product was 13.2 per cent in the first quarter of 1965, the agency said.
As historic as the rebound was, it fell short of expectations.
Financial data firm Refinitiv said the average economist estimate was for an annualized growth rate of 47.6 per cent for the quarter.
The rebound over July, August and September was a sharp turnaround from the preceding three-month stretch, which saw a record drop.
Driving the rebound were the further rolling back of public health restrictions that allowed businesses to reopen.
Statistics Canada also said there was a substantial increase in the housing market owing to low interest rates, as well as household spending on goods like cars.
GDP still lower than it was in February
Despite the overall increase, the national statistics office said real gross domestic product still remains shy of where it was before the pandemic.
The third quarter ended with the fifth consecutive monthly increase in real GDP after the steepest monthly drops on record in March and April when widespread lockdowns were instituted to slow the spread of COVID-19.
September saw a 0.8 per cent increase in real GDP, Statistics Canada said, a slight slowing from the 0.9 per cent recorded in August.
The agency also provided a preliminary estimate for October’s figures, saying early indicators point to a 0.2 per cent increase in the month. The figure will be finalized at the end of this month.
“The fourth quarter of 2020 is still beginning with some growth, though less than we had anticipated,” CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes wrote in a note.
“Looking ahead, the economy faces a December with harsh restrictions that will likely see another contraction in economic activity.”
Statistics Canada says economy grew at a record pace in Q3 – CityNews Toronto
Statistics Canada says the economy grew at a record annualized pace of 40.5 per cent in the third quarter as businesses came out of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Financial data firm Refinitiv says the average economist estimate was for an annualized growth rate of 47.6 per cent for the quarter.
The rebound over July, August and September was a sharp turnaround from the preceding three-month stretch saw a record drop.
Driving the bounce-back were the further rolling back of public health restrictions that allowed businesses to reopen.
Statistics Canada also says there was a substantial increase in the housing market owing to low interest rates and household spending on goods like cars.
Despite the overall increase, the national statistics office says real gross domestic product still remains shy of where it was before the pandemic.
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