Santa Claus Fired for Refusing COVID Vaccine

A Florida man who works as a department store Santa Claus says he has lost a job because he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The man, identified only as Santa Ron, said he had a contract to appear at a "breakfast with Santa" event at the Nordstrom store in Jacksonville's St. Johns Town Center for two days in December.

However, he was recently informed that he could no longer do the job because of his COVID-19 vaccination status.

"I was really looking forward to it, you know? I love the kids," he told News4Jax.

Santa Ron told the TV station that he had been informed by someone at his booking company, Nationwide Santas, that he should not show up on the days in question because he would be turned away and not paid.

He added that the decision had been made by the department store chain, which he claimed would also require customers attending the breakfast event to be vaccinated.

"Nordstrom has come back and said they want all of their Santas to be vaccinated and that those going to the event—that's what shocked me more than anything—that everybody going to the event on the 8th and the 11th will be required to be vaccinated," he said.

Santa Claus looking sad
A stock image of Santa Claus. Getty Images

A Nordstrom spokesperson told News4Jax that Santas at holiday breakfasts will need to be vaccinated, but customers are not required to be vaccinated to shop or dine at stores "except where required by a local health order."

The spokesperson added: "The health of our customers and employees continues to be our priority and our approach to COVID-19 is driven by guidance from the CDC, as well as local and state requirements.

"Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways we can take care of our customers and each other. We strongly encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they're able to do so."

Newsweek has contacted Nordstrom and Nationwide Santas for comment.

Santa Ron told News4Jax that he doesn't want the COVID vaccine because he has had bad reactions to shots in the past.

"I am not a conspiracy theorist. I don't believe it's the mark of the beast. I don't believe nobody's going to be tracking me," he said.

In Florida, only around 60 percent of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. However, this figure rises to about 86 percent for people in the state aged 65 and over.

Children wait to meet Santa
File photo. Santa takes a breather as children wait to meet him at the Westfield Shopping Mall in Arcadia, California, on December 19, 2017. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images