Bryant Park's Winter Village returns this year -- with changes

NEW YORK (WABC) -- There is some good news for holiday enthusiasts as one of the city's beloved holiday markets and ice skating rinks will be returning for its 19th season at the end of October.

The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park will kick off Oct. 30 and will go until March 7, 2021.

Visitors can expect many of the same holiday traditions and winter festivities -- but of course some changes will be made this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The free ice skating rink will be open daily, but this year, reservations and skate rentals must be made in advance online. Fewer skaters will be allowed on the ice at a time to help limit capacity. Additional protocols will be put in place to sanitize high-touch surfaces and rental equipment.

The open-air holiday shops will be open daily through Jan. 3. The market will be reconfigured into a new layout with fewer shops to allow for more spacious walkways.

Additionally, four NYC minority-owned businesses will have the chance to showcase their products in a rent-free booth as part of the shops this year.

Face coverings will be required.

Officials say this year's list of holiday market merchants and dining options will be announced over the coming days.

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It may not even be Halloween yet, but Santa is already preparing to stay safe while spreading joy this holiday season.

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The sense of doom grew, especially after March 1, when the first confirmed case arrived in Manhattan. Soon, there was a hotspot in New Rochelle, and small curfews and containment zones across the area offered a hint of a frightening future we still thought we could avoid.

RELATED: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut out-of-state travelers quarantine list


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