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NYC Announces Changes To Visiting Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Jennifer Havener
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Visiting the Rockefeller Christmas tree is one of the most popular and beloved holiday staples. From early December to well after the new year, tourists and locals in the holiday spirit flock to the Rockefeller Center.

But COVID strikes again. During a surge in positive cases, both in NYC and around the country, officials are making changes to the tree viewing. How can you see the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree this year? 

New Rules in Place for Christmas Tree Viewing

In normal years, immense crowds gather at Rockefeller Center to view the Christmas tree. While the tree itself has barriers, visitors often have unfettered access to the area. But due to the coronavirus, the rules for a tree viewing in 2020 will be different. 

For starters, the city will try to limit the number of pedestrians in the area at any given time. In order to get close enough to the tree for a selfie, visitors will need a reservation. Furthermore, each reservation will be limited to four people per group. 

Additionally, ticket holders will only be allowed to view the tree for five minutes. It’s not just pedestrians city officials are clearing from the area. The Daily News reports that nearby streets, 49th and 50th will be closed between 5th and 6th Avenues. 

As you may notice from the article photo, the lights on the 2020 tree are not on yet. 

Tree Lighting Airs December 2

The 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree hails from Oneonta, New York. Upon its arrival in NYC two weeks ago, Twitter had a field day with the sad-looking tree. Many joked on social media that the tree was peak 2020. Others compared it to Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. 

The Rockefeller Center’s official Twitter account clapped back at the hate. They jokingly wrote, “Wow, you all must look great right after a two-day drive, huh?” The account encouraged fans to “wait until December 2” when the tree lights came on. 

With crowd gatherings discouraged, NYC officials are urging people to watch the tree lighting ceremony on television this year instead of in person. The tree light ceremony will air on NBC.  

Christmas in Rockefeller Center will feature such musical guests as Diana Ross, John Legend, Pentatonix and more! Additionally, the Radio City Rockettes will follow-up their Macy’s Thanksgiving parade with another high-kicking performance. 

Ice Skating at Rockefeller Goes On as Usual

Good news for people who love visiting NYC at the holidays – ice skating at Rockefeller Center is still happening! Tickets and reservations are always required at the ice-skating rink, pandemic or not. Things may look different this holiday season in NYC, but it’s not completely shut down to visitors! It will just take planning ahead and making reservations if you want to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. 

Or, you can watch the tree lighting at home. 

Christmas in Rockefeller Center airs Wednesday, December 3, only on NBC. 

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