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Hoboken Announces Vaccine Mandate For SantaCon Bar Crawl

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- You'll need proof to party at SantaCon in Hoboken this year. A last-minute vaccine mandate is in place for the annual Christmastime bar crawl.

Hoboken's mayor used executive action to ensure businesses play their part in keeping the annual craze safe from possible COVID outbreaks, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported Friday.

Visitors by the thousands, ,any out-of-towners, are expected to show up day and night Saturday in a predicted messy fashion.

"We don't unfortunately have the ability to cancel it. We would if we could. But it's a private event, it's a private pub crawl," said Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who is not a fan of the event.


Bhalla just slapped SantaCon with an executive order. The event, skipped last year because of COVID, is back with the new mandate that all revelers show proof of full vaccination dating back at least two weeks.

Being fully vaccinated means having received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two weeks prior.

That's not too much to ask, said the manager of Ainsworth Hoboken, one of ten establishments in the crawl.

"It's going to be really secure and I think it's going to be really good for the community," said Luis Icaza.

"I'm just here to spread the word that you can't kill SantaCon, just like me," a woman in a roach costume said.

Earlier in December, the larger SantaCon in New York City had critics sounding off. Some TikTok users suggested it ramped up COVID infections in the city.

Nervous merchants in Hoboken hope their event will be calm and safe.

"I'm worried about COVID," said Dominic Rivera from Baking Mama Hoboken.

"It brings drunk Santa Clauses into Hoboken and all the older generation won't come out that day," one woman said.

The $30 haircut special advertised outside her barbershop will have few takers Saturday.

"I got two customers on the books for tomorrow. That's not good the week before Christmas," she said.

More Hoboken police officers will be out to check on bars. Owners are warned their operating licenses could get yanked if they're deemed naughty instead of nice.

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