December 10th, New Media Special News, Russia’s website published a report entitled “Nobody Summons: Demand for New Year’s “Severe Cold Elderly” Services” on December 9. The full text is excerpted as follows:
According to job search software records, the number of people in Russia who want to play “Severe Old Man” (Russian version of Santa Claus – note on this website) and “Snow Girl” have tripled last year. At the same time, the number of orders this season is declining. The actors interviewed promised that they would disinfect their clothes after each visit and be tested for COVID-19 regularly, but even the service of “old people with antibodies” have few customers.
Due to the lack of uniform working rules, each company or each pair of actors individually formulates a plan for safe activities under epidemic conditions.
“The cold old man came to the house” said: “We will disinfect the clothes between performances. In addition, all actors will take their temperatures before going to the customer’s house every day. They also have the obligation to get tested for COVID-19 every week. For safety, actors must travel in their (own or company) cars and wear masks.”
“In a few cases, the job description will contain the following requirements for actors: be tested for the novel coronavirus before leaving for work, and then tested every three days. At the same time, employers are willing to pay 50% of the testing fee.”
The Association of Actors and Animated Characters pointed out that the problem was difficult because of the sharp decline in orders. Only individual calls are now received to book home shows during the week before the New Year, which is December 26-31, while in normal years, home performances begin on December 15.
Nikita Portebnia, the head of the association, said: “The annual meeting of the company, morning performances and other large events have been cancelled. Usually, orders increase by 30% to 40% on New Year’s Eve, but this quarter, we don’t see this phenomenon.”
The animated characters of the association also intend to undergo nucleic acid and antibody tests to show their health certificates to customers. In order not to affect the performance, they will not wear masks and gloves during the performance.
St. Petersburg actor Alexei provides a unique “old man with antibodies” service, charging 4,000 roubles (about $54.6) at a time.
He said: “Some customers require that the original report proving the existence of antibodies must be issued. My partner Snow Girl and I have antibodies. We only got the proof more than a week ago, but most of it will be tested again.
However, Alexei said that orders did not soar after the advertisement was published. If in the first quarter of previous years, his income mainly came from morning performances and company annual meetings, then this year, all hopes are pinned on family performances. But at present, there is only sporadic demand. Alexei looks forward to the improvement of the next week.