The Christmas tree is lit at Rockefeller Center amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in New York City, New York, U.S., December 2, 2020.(REUTERS)
The Christmas tree is lit at Rockefeller Center amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in New York City, New York, U.S., December 2, 2020.(REUTERS)

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree turns on, with coronavirus rules and restrictions

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree looks different for visitors at Rockefeller Center this year, what’s normally a chaotic, crowded tourist hotspot during the holiday season was instead a mask-mandated, time-limited, socially distanced locale due to the coronavirus pandemic.
By Associated Press | Posted by: Alfea Jamal | New York
UPDATED ON DEC 03, 2020 04:09 PM IST

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree looks different for visitors at Rockefeller Center this year, starting with Wednesday’s tree lighting ceremony. What’s normally a chaotic, crowded tourist hotspot during the holiday season was instead a mask-mandated, time-limited, socially distanced locale due to the coronavirus pandemic. The tree, a 75-foot (23-meter) Norway spruce, had its holiday lights turned on in an event that was broadcast on television but closed to the public. The telecast used pre-recorded performances from entertainers like Kelly Clarkson and Dolly Parton, and camera shots of the streets around the tree showed them to be largely empty.

In the days following the lighting until the early part of January, those wishing to take a look at the tree will have to follow a host of rules.

The plaza where the tree is physically located will be closed to the public; instead, there will be specific tree-viewing zones on the midtown Manhattan blocks on either side.

ALSO SEE | PHOTOS: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree turns on, with virus rules

Visitors will join a virtual line, and can get text messages to let them know when it’s their turn. At that point, they will be directed to specific pods, each of which can hold four people, to look at the tree. There will be a five-minute limit to tree-viewing.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree stands lit, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in New York. The 75-foot tall Norway spruce is covered with more than 50,000 multi-colored, energy-efficient LED lights.The lit tree will be on display starting Thursday, December 3, through early January 2021 and will also will be livestreamed each day from 8 am to midnight at rockefellercenter.com.  (AP)
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree stands lit, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in New York. The 75-foot tall Norway spruce is covered with more than 50,000 multi-colored, energy-efficient LED lights.The lit tree will be on display starting Thursday, December 3, through early January 2021 and will also will be livestreamed each day from 8 am to midnight at rockefellercenter.com.  (AP)

Of course, everyone will have to be wearing masks and maintain social distance. Entrance to the skating rink and retail will be separate. The restricted approach is a necessary one, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier this week. “It will be limited, the number of people that can get close. This is what we got to do to protect everyone.”

Workers at Rockefeller Center first put up a tree in 1931. It became an annual tradition starting in 1933. This year’s tree came from Oneonta, in central New York.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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