Nottingham City Council explains its Christmas market decision

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Following our announcement yesterday, we’d like to respond to concerns made on social media channels, and offer local residents further reassurances about the Christmas market.

We fully understand that giving the go-ahead for an event this year may appear to send mixed messages.

People in Nottingham have been working so hard, alongside the Council and its partners, to stick to national guidelines and stop the spread of Covid-19 – and we thank them again. This has resulted in a significant reduction in cases but, of course, there is still much hard work ahead of us.

We’ve taken great care in considering Christmas plans for Nottingham this year.

Detailed discussions took place with the Council’s Safety Advisory Group, which includes representation from Public Health colleagues. Outdoor markets and attractions can go ahead under the Government’s Covid rules from 2 December, and a number of other cities across the country are hosting similar small-scale events.

We spoke at length with the market operator, Mellors Group, and having received the required assurances in respect of their Covid-safe measures, we made the decision that the event could go-ahead.

We’d like to reassure people that this year’s market will be nothing like previous Winter Wonderlands in Old Market Square. It will cover less than half of the usual space. There will be no alcohol sold or any public seating areas.

A reduced number of stalls will be spaced out, leaving room for visitors to ensure that two-metre social distancing rules can be maintained. Council staff will monitor Covid-safe measures and capacity at all times – if necessary closing off areas of the square.

All market traders will comply with national guidance on outdoor markets, which will include staff wearing face coverings and hand sanitiser at every stall for customer use.

Risk assessments have been carried out for all rides with individual plans put in place, which will either see hand sanitising before and after, or wiping down seats and hand rails.

We are also mindful that the market will help support our city-centre retail economy. As well as hopefully providing a much-needed boost for businesses in the city centre, more than half of the market traders are local.

Nottingham’s Covid rates have fallen dramatically in recent weeks precisely because of the ongoing efforts of those who live and work in our fantastic city. This year has been so hard for everyone, and we know Christmas – usually such a social and family-orientated period – unfortunately isn’t going to be the same in 2020.

We hope the market, along with plans to extend opening times in the city centre to stagger shoppers throughout the day, will provide an environment for people to feel festive, support local businesses and, most importantly, stay safe and have a wonderful Christmas.”

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