We will waive COVID travel restrictions for Father Christmas, EU confirmsComments
Father Christmas will be allowed to travel freely across the European Union despite the COVID-19 restrictions in place across the bloc, Brussels confirmed on Friday.
Asked to reassure children that Santa Claus will be able to cross borders freely to bring them their gifts, Margaritis Schinas, the EU's Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, said the European Commission "can offer this assurance".
"We agreed with the religious leaders that this being an issue of trans-border movement — Saint Nicholas, Pere Noel, Babbo Natale, Reyes Magos, Agios Vassilis — they will all be able to deliver the gifts. Young Europeans of all faith should have the conviction that love and hope will never be absent from Europe in these days," he said.
Various EU members states, including Austria, France, Germany and the UK, currently have national lockdowns in place which are set be lifted in early or mid-December but strict restrictions will still be enforced.
French people were warned by President Emmanuel Macron earlier this week to prepare for "a Christmas not like others."
Shops in the country are allowed to reopen on Saturday but people have to continue to restrict their movement and justify them with form until December 15. However, an evening curfew will still be enforced and bars and restaurants are to remain closed until at least January 20.
Gatherings will also continue to be restricted with people urged to respect social distancing measures and wear masks at home if they host family members over the holiday period.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also stressed that "Christmas will not be normal".
England is to exit its lockdown on December 1 and move under a multi-tier system with restrictions imposed at the local level based on the epidemiological situation.
The government unveiled the new tiers on Wednesday and 99 per cent of the country's population will be placed under the two toughest levels.
The government has also indicated it is working with the devolved administration in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to allow families to gather safely.