Leeds German Christmas Market has been cancelled for 2020 as a result of the growing Coronavirus pandemic, it has officially been confirmed.
Confirming the news just today, organisers will be skipping the festive season this year, with the popular event, which usually takes place at the Millennium Square, becoming the latest victim of cancellation.
Organisers revealed that they’d been searching for ways to make the event happen, but “Health and safety of visitors have to be the top priority.”
Kurt Stroscher, Frankfurt City Council’s director of festivals and events, said: “Because of its importance to the public, traders and local economy, the arguments as to whether the Christmas Market should go ahead were considered very carefully. However, the health and safety of visitors have to be the top priority.
“Christmas markets are very much a place for socialising in a warm and cosy atmosphere, with Millennium Square the perfect setting for this. This fundamental part of the Leeds Christmas Market’s identity cannot be achieved in a global pandemic.
“The social distancing rules and hygiene measures needed to control the pandemic are not compatible with the visitor experience that the people of Leeds have come to expect in the run-up to Christmas.
“Consideration was also given to the possibility that visitors might not adhere to the social distancing rules and behave in ways that they have been used to in the past. Under no circumstances should the Christmas Market contribute in any way to worsening the pandemic.”
Continuing: “They will now be focusing all their energies on bringing Leeds a wonderful Christmas Market in its familiar and much-loved form in 2021.”
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council added: “We’re obviously extremely disappointed that the German market won’t be taking place this year and we know it’s been an incredibly difficult decision for our long-time friends in Frankfurt to have to make.
“Whilst we know people will be similarly disappointed, we fully understand that the safety of the public, traders and the city as a whole has to come first while we are still fighting this pandemic.
“Rest assured though, we will still be celebrating Christmas in Leeds and we’ll be exploring some new and different ways for people to be able to do that safely and responsibly this festive season.”
The popular event attracts thousands to Leeds city centre every year, however, fans can look ahead to its return in 2021 and enjoy Christmas from a social distance this year instead. Leeds joins Birmingham, Bath and Lincoln, who have all made the decision to cancel this year’s markets.