PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Downtown Pittsburgh was quiet on Friday night, an evening that typically draws thousands of people to the city.
Pittsburgh’s Light Up Night, which is held the Friday before Thanksgiving each year, was largely canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Some activities, like the lighting of the City-County Building Christmas tree, were moved online. The City of Pittsburgh broadcast a pre-recorded ceremony and tree lighting on Friday evening.
A handful of people still stopped by to see the tree in person, including Sarah Paladin of Reserve Township. She said it’s part of a long tradition with her family.
“We always take our picture in front of this tree,” she said. “I kind of got the memories that came up on Facebook this year and we’re like, we’re going.”
Paladin and her husband had their first date during Light Up Night. They now bring their kids each year.
“It’s sad that everyone’s not down here, but it’s nice that we can still at least do our tradition,” she said.
It was also quiet at other Light Up Night staples like the Highmark Unity Tree and the Pittsburgh Creche.
The People’s Gas Holiday Market in Market Square normally opens on Light Up Night but won’t open until next week. One of the more lively attractions was the ice rink at PPG Place.
The rink opened Friday morning, despite a stay-at-home advisory in place in Allegheny County, and maintained steady business into the evening.
“It was just a really nice day out and it’s Friday,” said Saloni Patel, a Duquesne University student. “We’re all leaving soon, so we were like, let’s go ice skating together because Pittsburgh is so pretty.”
The rink’s management says capacity on the ice is monitored to comply with state outdoor gathering restrictions. Everyone is required to wear a mask and do a temperature check.
One skater said they were looking for a change of pace after spending a lot of time at home.
“I’m glad we got out and safety precautions were taken,” said Vincent Washington. “We still had fun.”