Knaresborough Christmas Market cancelled over social distancing fears

Knaresborough Christmas Market will no longer be taking place this year, organisers have confirmed.

Friday, 18th September 2020, 10:41 am
Updated Friday, 18th September 2020, 10:45 am

North Yorkshire County Council has said it cannot approve the event this December as Covid-19 cases are on the rise and new rules banning gatherings of more than six people have been introduced.

Chairman of the Christmas Market Group, Hazel Haas, said: Sadly, we were advised that NYCC cannot approve the event, which is completely understandable in light of the current Covid-19 situation. We had planned the market to exclude the annual fireworks display and live entertainment, since we could not adequately control the usual crowds which gather for those aspects, and then reduce the number of stalls by a third and spread them over a larger area, but the risks of attracting so many visitors from different parts of the country were just too great."

Knaresborough Christmas Market has been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Charlotte Gale Photographer for Knaresborough Christmas Market.

It comes just weeks after it was announced the market would still go ahead - but with the coronavirus situation ever-changing and new guidelines coming into force, many events are now being adapted or cancelled to keep people safe.

This year's Harrogate Christmas Market, which attracts 80,000 visitors annually at the bottom of Montpellier Hill, has also been cancelled - though it will turn into a virtual event to support traders.

What would have been the ninth Christmas Market to be held on the Stray in the centre of Harrogate cannot be made “Covid-secure” to meet the requirements of North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council due to the open nature of the site with access available from all sides, making it difficult to enforce social distancing.

Hazel added: "We understand the decision, which is being made in everyone’s interests, and look forward to a vibrant successful Christmas event in 2021. Having to completely rethink the planning for this year has brought some brilliant new ideas we will use for next year, and given us plenty of time to investigate them.”