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Christmas markets are a festive staple every year, but with the coronavirus pandemic still raging on in Britain, many have taken to wondering whether they will go ahead at all this year. Bath, Edinburgh, Leeds, Cheltenham, Birmingham, Winchester, Oxford and Bristol are just some of the places which have already called it quits on their Christmas markets this year, with Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park also cancelled.
Which cities will have Christmas markets this year?
Dr Giuseppe Aragona, GP and medical advisor at Prescription Doctor, said that while it was “highly unlikely” Christmas markets could go ahead this year, it would largely “depend on the area and size of the market”.
Dr Aragona continued: “Smaller more localised markets [may be] allowed to go ahead providing social distancing measures are in place.”
Winter Wonderland, a Christmas attraction popular with tourists all over the UK, announced its decision to close in a statement.
The winter attraction wrote: “In light of ongoing health concerns and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, and considering the size and scale of this event, we just couldn’t find a way to do that without compromising the magical attractions, shows, rides, bars and experiences that makes Hyde Park Winter Wonderland so special.”
As it stands, the following cities have Christmas markets going ahead:
- Cardiff – November 12- December 23
- Plymouth – November 26 – December 20
- Darlington – December 4 – December 6
- Essex – October 22 – December 10
- Truro – November 23 – December 13
- York – Dates to be confirmed
- Manchester – November 12 – December 22
The City of Edinburgh Council will make an unprecedented move this year as they move their Christmas market online.
In a statement, Edinburgh said: “Following the recent national restrictions and taking into consideration the likely addition of strain on service over winter, it has been agreed that any sort of event which could attracted a gathering or crowd will be avoided.
“This includes market stalls, rides and all other attractions.
“Instead, the focus will move to celebrating Edinburgh’s Christmas 2020 online. Further details of the revised plans will be announced in due course.”
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Meanwhile Manchester has brought in a new Christmas market after all the originals were cancelled.
Winter Island will open at Freight Island, a socially distanced venue at Depot Mayfield that opened earlier this year in the city.
Christmas in 2020 will likely be the strangest festive period anybody has seen in decades, with the coronavirus pandemic placing extensive limits on what people can and cannot do.
Christmas markets are just one area of the industry which have been adversely affected.
Restaurateur Kobir Ahmed told Metro: “Work and office parties for sure are now cancelled, especially with the announcement of the recent six people rule.
“Christmas for hospitality is the most important part of the year and any chance of recovery or green shoots of recovery are now washed away.
“With rules ever changing it will be hard to plan for Christmas as we don’t know what things will be like.”
It is likely a rise in virtual Christmas gatherings will occur as people try and stay connected while adhering to safety restrictions.
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