NEW YORK - There are new rules to follow if you visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an effort to manage crowd sizes and allow for proper social distancing, visitors must reserve a ticket in advance. Tickets are also required for the tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday. Center Plaza, where the tree is physically located, will be closed to the public.
"Please, if you can make the decision to watch it on TV, it would be better," Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a briefing on the pandemic Monday.
Wait times will be available at RockefellerCenter.com. Ticketed guests will have five minutes to view the tree. Further details on ticket reservations were expected to be announced in the coming days.
New traffic restrictions will also be in place in Midtown Manhattan around the iconic tree including the closure of more streets.
From Dec. 3 to early Jan 2021, 49th and 50th Streets will be closed between 5th and 6th Avenues. There will also be lane closures on side streets. Entrances to view the tree will be limited to 49th and 50th Streets at 5th and 6th Avenues.
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"We do not want to see a bunch of crowds forming," said de Blasio.
The tree will be illuminated from 6 a.m. to midnight, daily. Visitors can scan a QR code to see wait time and receive a text message to return to the line. All visitors must wear masks and remain six feet from other guests. A maximum of four people will be directed into pods with groups of more than four people separated into two pods.
The 75-foot Norway spruce was cut down in upstate New York and donated by Al Dick of Daddy Al's General Store in Oneonta.
On Nov. 16, a worker helping to set up the tree found the brown-and-white speckled Saw-whet among the tree's massive branches, three days after it had left Oneonta for Manhattan.
Last week, workers at the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties shared video of 'Rockefeller' as it was released at dusk into the vast open space of the upstate New York town filled with plenty of trees to seek shelter in. The video shows 'Rockefeller' landing on a tree before taking off again.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 28: A man wearing a Santa Claus costume skates at The Rink at Rockefeller Center near the newly unveiled Christmas Tree on November 28, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)