Most people have been looking especially forward to Christmas this year because it will be a welcome distraction from the pandemic. But for kids in Michigan, it is proving to be another painful reminder. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a Zoom call with a group of children and a "special guest" this week. That guest turned out to be Santa Claus himself. And instead of presents and good cheer, he came with a lecture.
Gov. Whitmer introduced Santa as someone "who has really been following the rules." And she invited the kids on the call to ask their obviously pre-screened questions, all COVID-related.
"Santa, do you have to wear a mask?" one kid asked. I imagine he wanted to ask about literally anything else.
"When I'm in my workshop, with all my elves, we are all masked up and social distancing," Santa answered.
Another boy asked Santa if it's okay to leave out some hand sanitizer along with his milk and cookies, to which Santa heartily agreed.
"Excuse me Santa, is the coronavirus in the North Pole?" another group of children asked.
"Everyone has been testing negative," he said. "We're still getting tested...We're all gonna mask up. We're all gonna wash our hands, and we're all gonna stay six feet apart."
Santa later added, with Whitmer watching, that the kids should do what they're told.
"What I would suggest to do is what the governor is telling all the people in the great state of Michigan to do," he instructed. "Social distance, wash your hands, and make sure you wear your mask when outside your home."
Whitmer chimed in and told the children that this year, the best thing to do is stay home and call their family.
"This year," she said, "it has to look a little bit different so we can stay safe."
And in Michigan, it's looked way different. Whitmer enforced some of the strictest COVID mandates in the country. It got to the point where residents couldn't use commercial lawn service. Thousands of people took the streets in protest and even a few Democratic officials in Michigan wondered what the heck she was thinking with some of her arbitrary restrictions.
And now she won't let Michiganders properly celebrate Christmas.