Lincoln Christmas Market cancelled due to coronavirus fears

German biscuit stall
Image caption The market has been running since 1982 and has only been cancelled once before because of snow and ice

One of the longest-running Christmas markets in the UK has been cancelled over concerns about social distancing.

Lincoln's Christmas market started in 1982 as part of its twinning with the town of Neustadt.

The market attracts about 250,000 people over four days in December.

Simon Colburn, assistant director for Health at City of Lincoln Council, said keeping people apart would be "impossible".

"Being an outdoor event does reduce the risk significantly, but there are large areas of the market that are indoors, we have several marquees, craft marquees and other indoor areas around the market, and that is a significant issue," he said.

"Even outdoors, the significant amount of people, the density of people means that it really would be impossible to implement social distancing in any form."

Image caption It is held in Lincoln's historic quarter and attracts about 250,000 people over four days in December

He said only about half the people who attend were from Lincolnshire, with the remainder coming from all over the country and from Europe.

"So, what we don't want to do... is import the virus," he said.

The news received a mixed reaction on social media, with some supporting the move and others calling it "ridiculous".

Mark Brewer, who normally sells German wine at the event, said: "We've had no wine tastings this year, and now we've lost the Christmas market, it is very tight."

However, he added while the decision was hugely disappointing, it was to be expected.

The council said it was looking at the possibility of allowing smaller, alternative events to take place instead.

The market has only ever been cancelled once which was due to snow and ice in 2010.

In 2017, it was cut short for the same reason.

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