One of the most iconic draws for some tourists in all of New York City is a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park.
That’s especially true at night when the lights of Manhattan are glittering and romance is in the air.
But all that was lost back in the spring when the coronavirus pandemic not only hit but hit hard in New York City, which became the epicenter of COVID-19 before rebounding over the summer to become one of the top states in the country for the lowest rate of infection.
With that in mind, officials on Saturday brought back the carriage rides – the protocols in place.
The carriages are rolling again, according to the New York Post , with coronavirus swab tests for drivers before every shift and hand sanitizer for passengers.
Christina Hansen, a spokeswoman for the industry, said it was slowly coming back with only about dozen carriages out on Saturday. “We restarted the business so we can get back in time for Christmas,” she said. “It’s the season of the year that we get a lot of our business from the tri-state area and locals.”
“The horses are happy to be back at work,” Frank Riccobono, an owner of NYC Horse Carriage Rides, told the Post.
But not everybody is happy they are back.
Long before the pandemic, animal rights activists have protested the use of horses parading tourists through New York streets and, in fact, a handful of opponents of the industry were out on Saturday for the return.