Nottingham’s annual Christmas Market was short-lived after being overwhelmed by large crowds on its opening night. The Nottingham City Council decided to close the event down 3 weeks ahead of schedule, in the interest of safety.
Nottingham residents were certainly in the Christmas spirit, as large crowds swarmed the Mellor’s Group event. Efforts had been made to ensure that the market was covid-secure, but these made little difference against the immense crowds.
With the jubilations running high, the tier 3 city almost seemed to forget about the deadly threat of coronavirus.
After only initially closing temporarily, a joint statement from the City Council and Mellors Group announced that it would shut indefinitely after a “strong city centre footfall” had been observed.
“The views being expressed both for and against are very important to us and we have listened carefully. The decision to go ahead with the market was not taken lightly nor has the decision to close.” They also added that they were “sorry it has not worked out.”
The Christmas Market usually runs for 3 weeks, from December 5th, up until Christmas Eve. This year, the behaviour and antics of a small minority meant that this year’s events was only able to last mere hours.
… The pent-up demand for a city-centre offer was far higher than normal and we feel this is the most appropriate way forward. This will allow us to monitor footfall in the city today and ensure that our activities support residents and local businesses in an appropriate fashion
— Mellors Group Events (@MellorsGroup) December 6, 2020
Market traders were told to pack away the following day and have been offered little to no support in the fallout of the market’s closure.
Many people were critical over the City Council’s decision to allow the Christmas market to be greenlit in the first place. Despite there being no ice rink or bars this year, the market was still set to attract the masses, which was proven indefinitely from its opening night.
Normally running all the way up until Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market is typically a fruitful time of year for traders. This year, however, business owners are set for a quiet festive period as they are forced to dismantle their stalls early.
Jack Williams, who runs a phone case stall, expressed his disappointment following the news that the market was shutting early: “It’s been very frustrating, obviously. I’ve pumped a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money in to this”. I’ve dropped other work and other events to come here, it’s a nightmare.”
“I’ve dropped other work and other events to come here, it’s a nightmare.”
Mr Williams is one of several traders that relied on the market for paramount revenue in the run up to Christmas. While the premature closure means that he will be leaving empty-handed, he does not place the blame on the people of Nottingham.
Hindsight certainly suggests that the best method of preventing transmission would have been to firmly cancel one of Nottingham’s most highly anticipated events of the year. Instead, the attempt to create a Covid-secure event to lift its residents’ spirits has now resulted in a bitter ending.