Fences not put up at event to prevent unvaccinated people from seeing Santa Claus

(Reuters) - Social media users have claimed that fences were erected at a festive celebration in the Netherlands to stop unvaccinated people from seeing Santa Claus.

A spokesperson for the municipality told Reuters that fences were put up for safety reasons, not to prevent unvaccinated people from joining the event, which was open to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people who had tickets.

Users have been sharing a video (here) that appears to show people, some carrying children, being moved away from a high fence covered with a black material.

“Look people, this is Zwolle,” one of the observers complains, referring to the venue of the event.

On Twitter, the video has been captioned: “The Dutch authorities installed a high black fence so that unvaccinated people could not see the arrival of Santa Claus” (here).

The video appears to have been filmed at an event (here , here) celebrating the arrival of Sinterklaas, or Santa Claus, to the Dutch city of Zwolle.

In an email, a spokesperson for the mayor of Zwolle explained that the event was organised in a closed venue where entry could be controlled in order to adhere to COVID-19 rules.

He said there was space for approximately 5,000 visitors, who could reserve a free ticket when showing the QR-code. Visitors would need to be vaccinated, have recovered from COVID-19, or have shown a negative test result.

“For security reasons we (the municipality) had agreed to erect blinded fences around the square and canal, as a part of crowd management and to make sure the visitors weren’t gathering next to a nearby busy road,” the spokesperson said.

“Just before Santa Claus arrived, we discovered that one particular spot near the road wasn’t properly fenced. So blinded fences were put up rapidly at a place where already parents were waiting with their children.”

In a separate statement on Facebook (here), Zwolle City Hall reiterated that although “everyone, vaccinated and not vaccinated, could book tickets for this”, the timing of the construction of the fences was “unfortunate” and that it understood the frustration of the parents who had to leave.


VERDICT


Missing context. A spokesperson for the municipality told Reuters that fences were put up for safety reasons, not to prevent unvaccinated people from joining the event, which was open to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people who had tickets.