SOMERVILLE, NJ - In an ongoing effort to counteract the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Downtown Somerville Alliance has been forced to scale back on its traditional holiday celebration, with Santa Claus opting for a live-streamed visit that will include an online tree-lighting ceremony Dec. 6 starting at 6 p.m.

Mindful of social distancing, confined spaces and executive orders from the Governor's Office in Trenton, the DSA has also decided to keep its portable, pop-up igloos packed away until next year.

The five igloos were set up on Division Street last year for the first time, and proved very popular with visitors. They remained open through March.

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Creating the pop-up igloo village enabled the DSA to leverage the popularity of Division Street through all four seasons, according to Natalie Pineiro, executive director of the DSA. In previous years, activity dwindled after Santa came to town to light the tree in early December.

Space is also a consideration, according to Pineiro. A few restaurants on the Division Street pedestrian mall have expanded their outdoor dining areas and Pineiro said the DSA preferred not to infringe on the restaurants' ability to continue serving outdoors beneath the pop-up tents and pavilions set up where the igloos would be.

Further information on the Dec. 6 online holiday jubilee celebration can be found on the DSA website,

The Downtown Somerville Alliance is a TAPinto marketing partner