Labor shortage hits Santa supply as workers weigh COVID-19 risks

CHICAGO -- Talk about holiday hum-bug: It looks like Santa Claus might not be coming to every small town and city this year.

A tight labor market has many people across the U.S. unable to book one of Santa's helpers to visit kids ahead of the holidays, CNN reported.

The head of a professional Santa Claus school in Denver said the region is down about 10-15% of Santas this year.

While other Santa-staffing agencies say the demand is up over 120%.

RELATED: Supply chain issues, labor shortages drive up food prices, limits variety as Thanksgiving nears

One issue: Many older and heavier-set men are opting-out of the job over concerns about their risk of exposure to COVID-19, especially in children who aren't yet vaccinated.

Virtual or video visits are one solution that many are using to address the Santa shortage.

The current labor market has companies in other industries struggling as well, including trucking, veterinary services and hospitality.