NIPOMO, Calif. -- Holloway's Christmas Trees is now open for the holiday season with several new safety measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The longtime Nipomo business has operated for 58 years and is the largest choose and cut christmas tree farm in California.
On Tuesday, the tree farm opened with strong sales, which has continued all week long.
"Opening day hit us with a bang," said owner Carl Holloway. "We sold four times as many trees as we usually do. I had to call people in from home to try and give us a hand and help us out because there's no way we could cover it."
Holloway said the farm has sold at least 100 trees each day, numbers he added they don't typically see until after Thanksgiving.
"People are looking for a reason to have a great family Christmas this year," said Holloway. "We all need it."
Customers on Friday all agreed. With the year being so difficult, people are needing and wanting to celebrate the holidays early.
"I'm about a week early, but tis the season," said Diane Kilfolye of Guadalupe. "Let's do it! Usually I wait until the day after Thanksgiving, but sooner is better this year."
"With the kids at home, we just want to keep them active," said Christine Somma of Arroyo Grande. "I think it's a great time to start decorating and listening to holiday music. I'm excited."
Like nearly every other operation, the farm has had to adapt this year to a rapidly changing business landscape.
In order to comply with safety restrictions, and ensure the health and safety of its customers and employees, Holloway's has implemented a slew of COVID-related precautions.
"We've done a ton of work for coronavirus protocols," said Holloway. "We're doing everything we need to do to protect our own employees and the public."
According to the farm's website, the following measures are now in place:
- Masks are required in the sales area where it is difficult to maintain 6’ social distancing. We will have masks available if you don’t have one.
- All benches, tables, chairs, hand rails, and other touch points will be sanitized on a regular basis throughout the day.
- Shields will be installed at the cashiers’ booths for the protection of both our employees and customers.
- Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available and located at several convenient locations on the farm.
- Trees are naturally “socially distanced” so masks will not be mandatory while you’re out in the fields as long as you are able to socially distance yourself from other customers/families.
- The fire pits will be adapted for family groups and will have a five minute limit.
- All employees will be screened daily prior to reporting for work. They will also be required to wear masks at all times when assisting customers.
In addition, Holloway's is now offering curbside pickup for customers that wish to purchase a tree without having to walk onto the grounds.
"All you gotta do is look on the website, there's a whole page for curbside pickup," said Holloway. "It's got a price index on it. Click on that, see what you want. Call us up. Order it. We take your credit card number and if you want us to take it to your car, we'll have the tree ready, we'll walk it out and away your go."
Holloway's Christmas Trees is open daily, noon to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.
The farm will be closed on Thanksgiving and remain open each day through Christmas Eve.