PHOTOS: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting looks different amid pandemic

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
A view of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree during the 88th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on Dec. 2, 2020 in New York City. Photo credit Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The annual tree lighting at Rockefeller Center looked a little different this year amid the pandemic.

What’s normally a crowded holiday event was closed to the public on Wednesday. Instead, anyone who wanted to see the 75-foot Norway spruce lit up in multicolored lights for the first time had to watch from home.

NBC broadcasted the “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., when the tree was lit for the season.

Among those who performed at the event were Tori Kelly, Dan + Shay, Kelly Clarkson, Dolly Parton and Earth, Wind & Fire.

“TODAY Show” anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and Al Roker hosted the festivities.

Following the lighting ceremony, the tree will be open to the public Thursday, Dec. 3 through early January 2021. However, anyone who wishes to see it up close this year will need to buy a ticket in advance.

The tree will be lit from 6 a.m. to midnight every day and viewing rules and social distancing will be strictly enforced by a private security company.

Members of the NYPD and other agencies will be patrolling the area and the city will work as it has in previous years to make sure there’s ample space, including closing off some lanes of traffic, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Rockefeller Center first put up a Christmas tree in 1931 and it became an annual tradition in 1933. This year’s tree came from Oneonta.

Rock Center Tree Lighting 2020
Tori Kelly performs during the 88th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on December 02, 2020 in New York City. Photo credit Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Rock Center Tree Lighting 2020
Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay perform during the 88th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on December 02, 2020 in New York City. Photo credit Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Rock Center Tree Lighting 2020
Tori Kelly performs during the 88th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on December 02, 2020 in New York City. Photo credit Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Rock Center Tree Lighting 2020
Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay performs during the 88th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on December 02, 2020 in New York City. Photo credit Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Rock Center Tree Lighting
TV presenter Al Roker attends the 88th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on December 2, 2020 in New York City. Photo credit Anthony Behar/Sipa USA
Rock Center Tree Lighting
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rob Speyer speak during the 88th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on December 02, 2020 in New York City. Photo credit Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Rock Center Tree Lighting
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rob Speyer light the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, a 75-ft Norway spruce decorated with more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights, during the 88th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony Photo credit Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

Stay informed, stay connected — follow WCBS 880 on Facebook and Twitter. Download the RADIO.COM app + favorite WCBS 880 for breaking news, traffic and weather alerts.