If you thought COVID-19 would derail Santa Claus's mammoth annual effort to whip around the homes of Canberra's children this year, think again.
The ACT's acting chief health officer, Vanessa Johnston, has granted a class exemption to Santa and his North Pole crew to make sure deliveries can continue as planned.
But Dr Johnston blocked entry for the Grinch, "whose heart is two sizes too small".
"Christmas is almost here, we don't want you to ruin the festive season, as ACT chief health officer, I refuse you entry for this reason!" Dr Johnston's refusal letter said.
BREAKING NEWS – Santa Claus has received an exemption to enter the ACT 🎅🦌— ACT Health (@ACTHealth) December 4, 2020
Acting ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Vanessa Johnston is pleased to announce today a class exemption permitting Santa Claus & the North Pole support crew to enter the ACT without undergoing quarantine. pic.twitter.com/Zw8zkAxOUJ
Santa Claus and his team face some strict conditions, meaning Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer has agreed to get tested for COVID-19.
Santa and his elves will also need to use hand sanitiser before wrapping and distributing presents and use the Check in CBR app to help contact tracers if required.
"We also appreciate that you have agreed to shop locally to support CBR businesses," Dr Johnston's standing exemption said.
The exemption said: "Under paragraph 1(c) of the ACT Public Health (Residential Aged Care Facilities) Emergency Direction 2020 (No.3) Santa Claus is permitted to enter Residential Aged Care Facilities as Christmas joy is an 'essential service'."
"Canberra's hospitals have also revised their visitor policies to permit [Santa Claus] and the North Pole support crew entry into health facilities."
BREAKING NEWS – the Grinch has been refused entry into the ACT 🚫— ACT Health (@ACTHealth) December 4, 2020
Acting ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Vanessa Johnston has provided the following reasons for the Grinch’s refusal into the Australian Capital Territory #covidsafehttps://t.co/YGW9pOHG3epic.twitter.com/RWniyJHvJz
ACT Health added that with three weeks until Christmas, many people were looking for updates on travel exemption requests.
"We're working on processing all applications as fast as possible. Thank you for your patience," ACT Health tweeted on Friday.