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Belgian health minister tells Santa he’s exempt from Covid rules

(CNN) — Tens of millions of persons across Europe are residing under limits as the continent battles a second wave of coronavirus — but in Belgium, authorities have decreed that a person jolly employee is exempt from the guidelines: Santa Claus.
The country’s Wellness Minister, Frank Vandenbroucke, wrote a letter to St. Nicholas on Thursday assuring him he was exempt from quarantine policies that may well interfere with his festive trip.
On December 6 just about every year, Belgian kids wake up and hurry to see if St. Nicholas, or Sinterklaas, as he is identified in Flemish-talking components of the region, has still left offers for them.

In some areas of Belgium, custom has it that St. Nicholas arrives by boat from Spain, and delivers gifts on the night of December 5.

“As you know, expensive St. Nicholas, Spain is in code pink. According to the guidelines, you must for that reason stay a couple of times in quarantine below when you arrive,” Vandenbroucke wrote in a letter revealed in French language newspaper Le Soir.

“However, given that we know that you have no time to drop, and that you will need just about every hour to get ready items for each boy or girl, we have resolved to make an exception,” the minister wrote, noting that the 17-day boat excursion from Spain would rely as “a lot more than adequate of a quarantine” in this case.

Belgium has now recorded a lot more than 50 percent a million situations of Covid-19, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, whilst Spain turned the fourth European country to surpass 40,000 coronavirus fatalities previously this 7 days.

The minister also included that St. Nicholas would be exempt from the country’s curfew, but warned him to keep social distancing and don a mask when needed as he sent offers.

Vandenbroucke also utilised the letter to fork out homage to Belgian kids, who, he mentioned, experienced “been particularly courageous this calendar year.”

“Without a doubt, it is not quick each individual day: at school, every little thing has transformed at the moment, they can no longer see their mates, they can no longer indulge in their preferred hobbies. Really, genuinely, it is not cheerful for them. Not to point out that they are unable to even go and be cuddled by grandpa and grandma to be consoled.

“But nevertheless, they hold on, dear St. Nicholas. Not only to safeguard them selves, but higher than all to shield other folks. All through these two months of getaway, mothers and dads are carrying out their ideal to get care of them even more, but this calendar year they are worthy of your stop by a lot more than at any time. Each and every boy or girl is a hero, and for after, you really don’t need to have to verify in your significant, intelligent notebook,” he wrote.

Santa is just not the only supernatural currently being to receive an exemption from this year’s Covid-19 limitations — in April, New Zealand’s Primary Minister, Jacinda Ardern, additional the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to the country’s listing of crucial employees.

CNN’s Pierre Bairin contributed reporting.

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