Downtown merchants extending their hours for holiday shopping | News, Sports, Jobs

Laveta Brigham

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette A few stores make sure customers know that they are open for business during the holiday season. The spirit of holiday shopping in downtown Williamsport is alive and well. Through Christmas, the Williamsport Parking Authority will allow free parking from 3 p.m. through the evening […]

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette
A few stores make sure customers know that they are open for business during the holiday season.

The spirit of holiday shopping in downtown Williamsport is alive and well.

Through Christmas, the Williamsport Parking Authority will allow free parking from 3 p.m. through the evening Monday through Friday in its on-street metered and parking lots in the Central Business District.

It’s the second year in a row the authority has worked in tandem with the Williamsport Business Association to provide free parking for shoppers, said Beth Armanda, president of the association.

“It’s our way to help the customer, and help the shops get more customers,” said David Kish, authority operations manager.

Supporting local shops and restaurants is more important than ever, Armanda said, a reference to the slowdowns due to COVID-19.

Precautions are required, such as wearing a mask and social distancing, but the shops are open and selling a variety of unique and specialty items for gifts, she said.

“I know Small Business Saturday went well,” she said.

This weekend, the association is sponsoring Catch the Spirit, a shopping experience whereby merchants participating stay open until 8 p.m. Saturday and some will be open Sunday, Armanda said.

Starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, Santa Claus will be strolling throughout downtown, she said.

A brass quintet will perform in front of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce building at West Fourth and Pine streets, she said.

A quartet, “Pitch Please,” will walk up and down singing on West Fourth Street.

“Most businesses also are offering online shopping,” she said, inviting shoppers to call them to find out.

Kish said normal parking enforcement will take place until 3 p.m. daily.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected revenue as the authority prepared for its annual budget, Kish said.

Adam Winder, general manager for both River Valley Transit and streets and parks department, said the plow trucks are ready for any plowable snow and that should not stop the merchants and shopping activities.

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