Hoboken, NJ, urges Santa to stay home
SantaCon is due to roll into Hoboken next Saturday for their annual pub crawl, and city officials are not happy about it.
The New York City event will be held tomorrow, and Hoboken will be watching closely to see any negative impacts.
Patience with the rowdy, drunken frolic has been growing thinner by the year and is only exasperated by the ongoing pandemic.
SantaCon was canceled last year, and city officials wish they would do the same this year.
A spokeswoman for the city told NorthJersey.com it was "unfortunate and irresponsible" to hold the event as COVID cases spike in Hoboken and around the state.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla said if organizers will not cancel the event, he hopes people do the right thing and stay home.
As of this morning, the event was still being promoted on Facebook and on the SantaCon website.
Past events have drawn thousands to Hoboken, which has had to increase security to curb bad behavior. Police report dozens of people arrested every year for disorderly behavior and others taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning or injury.
Hoboken's businesses used to embrace the waves of Santa clad revelers, seeing it as a way to make extra money at the end of the year, but today more businesses are telling them to stay out. Fewer than 10 bars and other businesses are listed on the SantaCon website as welcoming to the event.
Organizers have taken steps to try and curtail bad behavior, even putting out a list of "guidelines" that should be followed.
The rules include: Don't black out; don't urinate in public; don't make children cry; and if you do get drunk, "get into a fight with other Santas, get arrested as quickly as possible...and have the whole thing recorded on video for the evening news and YouTube." (Their Facebook page does state "Not all these guidelines should be taken seriously.")
Hoboken's Christmas Wish may be to keep these impostor Santas out, but there is little they can do to stop it. Organizers are not required to obtain a permit, giving the city no ability to decline.
There will be an increased police presence that will cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
City officials are also asking bars and other businesses to enforce mask wearing indoors, but there is no local ordinance requiring it.