Christmas forest trying to keep visitors safe from COVID-19

It's a different sort of tree buying this year at Santa's Farm & Christmas Tree Forest in Eustis.

From a socially-distanced Santa to hygienic hayrides, the farm's owner, Jodi Utsman said they were doing their part to keep everyone safe.

“We've set lower maximum capacities, reservations online ahead of time, we require masks on the property at all times except when you go onto our 17-acre tree field,” Utsman said.

There, you can go cut down your own Christmas tree, buy pre-cut ones, play in the petting zoo, or just snap a photo among the pines. Utsman said even under these circumstances, business was good.

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“Well, we didn't do tickets before but every one of our days has so far sold out.”

Of course, these are holidays like no other. Utsman said they were doing everything they could to keep visitors here safe. However, she said they'd had to turn away lots of people who were angry at being told they had to wear masks.

“They immediately say ok, we're just going to ruin you on Facebook so they go on and leave their negative comments about masking, which is positive for us because I want everybody to know that we require masks before they get here,” Utsman said.

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Most visitors said they were happy with the policy.

“We're all responsible for our own safety and if everyone can do a little bit of a part by wearing their masks and being safe, maybe we can get out of this thing a little faster,” said Mike Geschke, who was visiting from Oviedo.

The farm is open every day through December 13.