San Francisco vendor reports Christmas tree shortage amid pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- COVID-19 has changed the way we gather and celebrate the holidays. With more people staying at home and celebrating remotely, Christmas tree farms are reporting a tree shortage.

"We go through about 7,500 trees. This year we are down about 6,000. One of the key differences has been tree availability," said Kyle Carson, chief of staff of the Guardsmen Tree Lot.

The Guardsmen Tree Lot in San Francisco's Fort Mason is a nonprofit that thrives during the holidays.

"We raise money throughout the year to send at-risk youth throughout the Bay Area to summer camps and give them scholarships," said Carson.

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Carson says they are running out of Christmas trees fast.

"This year certainly has been a much bigger surge of people wanting to get out of the house and bring some normalcy to their lives and coming down to get a Christmas tree," said Carson.

The Anderson family made their way to Fort Mason and bought their tree.

"We came a little late so there are enough trees to choose from but there would've been more in a precious year or if we would've come last week," said Gordon Anderson, San Francisco resident.

As some businesses reap the benefits of more families staying at home during the holidays, others are experiencing the opposite.

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A Bay Area Christmas tree farm owner says people seem to be buying trees earlier than normal this year to bring some normalcy in their lives.

"It's just slow for this year before it use to be busy. This year is kind of slow," said Sergio Gomez, owner of Tamaleria Azteca.

Every year around Christmas, Sergio Gomez would sell over 5,000 tamales for family gatherings and parties. This year he's seeing an 86% decrease.

"I use to have about 50 orders and this year I have like 20 orders," said Gomez.

Many people are counting down the days to 2021 and searching for normalcy during the holidays. Joanna Riquelme and her family found joy at Union Square.

"We have to get out and get a breather and fresh air and enjoy the holidays!," said Riquelme.

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