Hoboken, NJ urges Santa to stay home this weekend

SantaCon is due to travel to Hoboken next Saturday for its annual pub crawl, and city officials are not happy with it.

The New York event takes place tomorrow, and Hoboken will be watching closely for any negative impact.

Patience with loud and drunken antics has dwindled year by year and is only exasperated by the ongoing pandemic.

SantaCon was canceled last year and city officials are keen to do the same this year.

A city spokeswoman told NorthJersey.com it was “unhappy and irresponsible” to organize the event as COVID cases increase in Hoboken and the state.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla said that if the organizers don’t cancel the event, he hopes people will do the right thing and stay at home.

This morning, the event was still on promotion on Facebook and on the SantaCon website.

Facebook / Santacon Hoboken

Past events have drawn thousands of people to Hoboken, which has had to tighten security to tackle bad behavior. Police report dozens of people arrested each year for disorderly behavior and others taken to hospital for alcohol poisoning or injuries.

Hoboken businesses used to embrace waves of Santa Claus clad revelers, seeing it as a way to make some extra cash at the end of the year, but today more and more companies tell them to stay out. Fewer than 10 bars and other businesses are listed on the SantaCon website as hosting for the event.

Facebook / Santacon Hoboken

Organizers have taken steps to try and curb bad behavior, even issuing a list of “guidelines” that should be followed.

The rules include: Do not pass out; do not urinate in public; don’t make children cry; and if you get drunk, “arguing with other Santas, get arrested ASAP … and have it videotaped for the evening news and YouTube”. (Their Facebook page says, “All of these guidelines shouldn’t be taken seriously.”)

Hoboken’s Christmas wish may be to keep these Santa Claus impostors out, but there’s little they can do to stop him. The organizers are not required to obtain a permit, which gives the city no opportunity to refuse.

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 require masks to be worn indoors, but no local ordinance requires it.

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