“As minister of foreign affairs, we’ve been working on the Santa Clause issue for a number of weeks now,” says Coveney. “And it’s important to say to all children in the country that we regard Santa Claus’ travels as essential travel for essential purposes and therefore, he is exempt from the need to self-quarantine for 14 days.”
With many countries experiencing travel restrictions, including Ireland, people are seeking clarifications about what they can or can’t do as their travel plans during the festive season may have been disrupted. But to allay the fears of the young ones in Ireland, the Irish Government has confirmed that Santa Claus is exempt from restrictions in movement as he is providing “essential services”.
“(Santa) should be able to come in and out of Irish’s airspace and Irish’s homes without having to restrict his movements,” says Coveney.
Ireland, with its five million populace, has recorded 2,099 deaths from the Covid-19 coronavirus till date, a figure that is far less than many of its European neighbours.
Currently, Ireland’s government has advised against all non-essential overseas travel to and from the country, and anyone flying in from outside the European Union is required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
But the foreign minister does add that the unrestricted movement only applies to Santa Claus and that both children and adults need to bear in mind that they will need to practise social distancing.
“I am assured that children should not stay up at night because (Santa) does need to social distance. So people need to keep at least two metres away at all stages to make sure that we keep him safe and also all children as well,” he says.
“(Santa)’s exempt, he’s coming, he’s confirmed that, and he appreciates the fact that Ireland has ensured that in a very different Christmas in 2020, the visit of Santa Claus will be something that will remain consistent,” concludes Conveney.
Coveney is not the only minister who has addressed the concerns of children about festive seasons. Earlier this year, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has addressed children about the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy just before Easter in April.
Read more: Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are 'essential workers' New Zealand PM tells kids