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National Christmas Tree lighting goes virtual this year due to COVID-19

While the typical live audience isn't an option this year, anyone can watch the live streaming of the event, NPS said.

WASHINGTON — The 98th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony will be virtual this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the National Park Service announced Monday afternoon.

But don't fret -- the lighting and holiday performances will still take place on Dec. 3. While the typical live audience isn't an option this year, anyone can watch the live streaming of the event, NPS said in a news release.

"Due to COVID-19-related public health concerns, the National Park Service (NPS) and National Park Foundation (NPF) will not host a live audience at the 2020 National Christmas Tree Lighting," NPS spokesperson Katie Liming said in a statement. 

It is uncertain who will be performing for the virtual ceremony this year.

The National Christmas Tree will be lit every evening throughout December and visitors can go to President's Park to view the National Christmas Tree and 56 trees representing every state and territory -- including the District. The tree will be decorated with ornaments designed by students from across the country.

Last year, NPS planted a new National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse in President’s Park – a 30-foot Colorado blue spruce from Palmyra, Pennsylvania. 

The National Park Service and National Park Foundation said they look forward to celebrating the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in person next holiday season.

Starting Monday, if you are traveling to Washington D.C., you need to take a coronavirus test at least three days before coming to the city, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said during a news conference Thursday.

Travelers making their way to the District need to test negative for COVID-19 before visiting D.C. And if the person is staying in the city for more than three days, they are advised to get retested within three to five days of arrival.

Here's the list of high-risk states below (last updated on Nov. 2)

RELATED: If you're traveling to DC you need to take a COVID-19 test. Here's the District's updated travel advisory

If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they are advised not to travel to the District, officials said.

Also, visitors who plan to visit D.C. are advised to not travel to the city if they have been in close contact with someone who has been exposed to the virus.

RELATED: Thank DC for your Christmas tree lights – the District made them popular 96 years ago

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