The tradition of NORAD tracking Santa as he makes his trip around the globe on Christmas Eve won't be sidelined by COVID this year.

Each year, as Santa travels around the globe in his sleigh to deliver toys to boys and girls, his progress is tracked by NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

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NORAD has announced they will track Santa on Dec. 24, just as it has done for 65 years. But there will be some changes: Not every child will be able to get through to a volunteer at NORAD’s call center to check on Santa’s whereabouts, as they have in years before, according to USA Today.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the staffing at NORAD's call center is being reduced from the usual 150-160 volunteers per shift to just 10 per shift. Usually, 1500 volunteers will field over 130,000 calls from people tracking Santa.

Callers can still call to get through to a member of the military or other volunteer, but others will get a recorded update on Santa’s current location when they dial the NORAD Tracks Santa toll-free number, 1-877-Hi-NORAD.

The military command has been fielding calls since 1955, when Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, the commander on duty at NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command, fielded a call from a child who dialed a misprinted telephone number in a newspaper department store ad, thinking she was calling Santa.

A fast-thinking Shoup quickly assured his caller that he was. And the tradition began, says USA Today.


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