Any Santa that wants a drink at Saturday’s planned Hoboken SantaCon will need to show proof of vaccination first.
“I’ve heard nothing but great things, so I am excited for it,” Hoboken resident Kaity Hoffman said.
While hordes of thirsty Santas plan to fill the streets of Hoboken, Mayor Ravi Bhalla said he is trying to prevent a public health hazard. He issued an emergency order in advance of the pub crawl that mandates any participating bar or restaurant to check for proof of vaccination.
“If you are not vaccinated and you intend to come to Hoboken for SantaCon, you’re not welcome,” Bhalla said.
Some are still gung-ho(ho-ho) to attend. Others, not so much.
“I can’t go tomorrow. With everything that’s going on, you don’t want to risk it before the holidays,” Hoboken resident FeFe Jaber said.
COVID-19 infections have been rapidly multiplying, and there are reports that some participants in the New York City SantaCon took home an unwanted party favor: they got Covid-19 right before Christmas.
SantaCon did cancel the event in 2020. And Mayor Bhalla said he would stop it this year if he could.
“We would do that, but pub crawls are private events. And we don’t have the governmental authority to shut them down,” he said.
Luis Icaca, the manager of The Ainsworth, said the restaurant and bar hired multiple security guards to check vaccination status.
“We will have extra security for sure,” he said.
According to Mayor Bhalla, various government agencies will be doing spot checks to make sure participating establishments are following the emergency order. Those in violation could get a summons, lose their liquor license, or even face a full shut down.