Christmas is the time of year where everyone scrambles from store to store, trying to find the best holiday deals they can. But in New York, this means something extra special. The Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center is one of the most popular tourist attractions during the holiday season. The Rockefeller Tree, which has been featured in Christmas classics such as Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and Elf, draws in 750,000 people a day or 125 million people a year. However, the pandemic has put a halt on many people’s travel plans and, as a result, small businesses in New York are suffering.

Normally, tourists will spend their day shopping and going to see the Rockefeller Tree before joining in on some ice skating. But with COVID-19 precautions to minimize large crowds in place, tourists are abstaining from this popular Christmas tradition. The mom and pop shops that would normally welcome a steady influx of holiday shoppers are not seeing the same numbers in 2020. For anyone who has been to New York, they would know that navigating through Manhattan on a normal day is chaotic. However, this year there is actually space for people to move around, especially around Bryant Park where the annual outdoor holiday market is still happening.

In order to generate revenue, small business owners are relying on this outdoor market to gain exposure to potential customers. This includes handing out samples and trying to land sales with anyone who passes by their stall. Otherwise, the best way for these small businesses to capture sales is through online shopping. CBRE predicts that online shopping during the holidays will jump from 14% to 40%. If small businesses in New York that normally rely on word-of-mouth and window shoppers want to survive, they need to adapt and offer more options for online orders, such as curbside pickup. And if they are still counting on people walking into their stores, perhaps they need to have more eye-catching or interesting displays says Larisa Ortiz, managing director of Streetsense.

“Those are the better businesses, right? They know they have to switch it up and make it interesting, they’re the ones who are going to be in a better position after the holidays.”

Larisa Ortiz, Streetsense

If you are a small business owner in New York, how are you adapting to the drop in tourism during the holidays? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.