The supply-chain issues, labor shortages and increased energy prices have affected dear Santa and the North Pole. The Wall Street Journal reports, “The economic trend has extended to the men who play Santa Claus at parties, and shopping malls, according to Mitch Allen, ‘Head Elf’ at staffing agency Hire Santa.”
If we can’t get gifts this year anyways due to supply-chain issues, do we even need Santa to climb down the tree empty-handed? Head Elf Allen says he has seen a whopping 121% increase in requests to hire a Santa this season.
Likely everyone is trying to get back some of the joy they have missed in almost two years. However, there could be more than 15% fewer professional Santas available. Those that can make themselves available have tremendous bargaining power. Depending on the event, Allen says Santas can charge up to 25% higher due to the demand and short supply.
Many things are contributing to the Santa shortage, not unlike many valuable jobs such as law enforcement, nurses, doctors, pilots and teachers. Allen says many of the potential Santas worry about contact with young children who could be spreading COVID-19.
Also, many Santas are afraid to shake their ‘belly like a bowl full of jelly’ as the stocky, jolly heavyset men are at higher risk of coronavirus complications. Allen also said only about half of the events are offering some sort of social distancing protocols. Telling Santa what you want for Christmas at a six-foot distance just isn’t the same.
Additionally, like many people across multiple fields, have simply decided to “hang up their black snow boots and retire since the last normal Christmas season in 2019.”
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Watchdog: Pentagon likely rushed denials of COVID-19 vaccine Religious Exemption requests
The Army only approved just 24 religious COVID-19 vaccine exemption requests out of a total 8,514 requests submitted by active duty soldiers, and 1,602 requests have been rejected while the rest remain pending.
Military.com obtained information showing the Pentagon rushed vaccine exemption denials:
Sean O’Donnell, the Pentagon’s inspector general, wrote in a June 2 memo to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin obtained by Military.com calling attention to a “concerning” trend in which military brass rushed to reject vaccine-exemption petitions rather than giving each request due consideration.
“We found a trend of generalized assessments rather than the individualized assessment that is required by Federal law and DoD and Military Service policies,” he said. “Some of the appellate decisions included documentation that demonstrated a greater consideration of facts and circumstances involved in a request.”
In March, a Texas judge blocked the Navy from dismissing sailors with pending exemption requests and in August, a Florida federal judge ordered class action relief and granted an injunction barring the federal government from enforcing the vaccine mandate for the Marine Corps.
National Review writes, “For the last year, military has been struggling with a recruitment problem. As of July, with only three months left in the fiscal year, the Army had met only 40 percent of its recruitment goal and reduced its active-duty force by 12,000 troops.”
O’Donnell calculated that officials likely gave each appeal a cursory glance rather than a thorough examination, possibly opening the door to litigation from service members who had to resign after they failed to obtain exemptions. Across all the branches, there were about 50 denials per day in a 90-day period, he determined. Over a thousand Coast Guardsmen have already tried to launch a class-action lawsuit in response to their being refused religious exemptions, the publication noted.
“The volume and rate at which decisions were made to deny requests is concerning,” the memo read. “Assuming a 10-hour work day with no breaks or attention to other matters, the average review period was about 12 minutes for each package. Such a review period seems insufficient to process each request in an individualized manner and still perform the duties required of their position.”
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