LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Starting on Thursday, Lancaster visitors can enjoy free parking downtown.

The effort comes just in time for Christmas. It is usually a move by Lancaster’s parking authority to encourage people to shop at the small businesses downtown.

But with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the parking authority says the promotion is extra important.

“It really is critical, I mean we looked at the authority can we afford to do it, but it’s so important to support the effort of the community,” says Larry Cohen, executive director of the Lancaster parking authority.

The twelve-day free parking opportunity runs through Dec. 25.