Nottingham Winter Wonderland Christmas market opens in tier 3

By David Pittam
BBC News, Nottingham

Image source, Nottingham City Council
Image caption,
The council said measures would include more cleaning, free hand sanitiser and limits on numbers

A controversial Christmas market has opened in a tier three city, despite some residents' concerns it could cause infection rates to rise.

Nottingham Winter Wonderland has been scaled down but still features a big wheel, rides and 40 stalls.

Nottingham City Council gave permission for the event and organisers Mellors Group said it would be safe.

Gail Ross, from Mapperley Park, said: "This virus is a killer - what does the council not understand about that?"

Lynn Farmer, 56, from Chilwell, said: "I usually go, but no chance this year. I had Covid and, believe me, it's horrendous.

"How on earth are we going to get rid of this terrifying virus if [everyone goes]?"

Image source, Nottingham City Council
Image caption,
Alcohol will not be served at this year's event

Geoff Williams, director of the city's Business Improvement District, also had some concerns.

"I'm still not convinced they can manage the numbers," he said. "In the state we're in, you can't just go and let your hair down and if it's just about selling things, we've got enough shops already struggling in the city centre."

However, some residents welcomed the annual event, which will run in the city's Old Market Square until Christmas Eve.

Nick Martin, 49, from Kirkby in Ashfield, said: "It's outside, there's no alcohol being served and, at the end of the day, it [could help] people's livelihoods.

"[If] it can go on, why shouldn't it ?"

Image source, Nottingham City Council
Image caption,
The market is a popular annual tradition in the city

Organisers Mellors Group said they would monitor crowds to ensure social distancing and a use "robust cleaning regime".

Nottingham City Council also defended the event, saying it would work with public transport providers and retailers to prevent overcrowding in the city.

Nearby Derby is also hosting a Christmas market this weekend, along with a festive window display trail and a 15-minute live show to be performed for individual households.

Robin Wood, the city councillor in charge of leisure, culture and tourism, said the city needed "a little sparkle" but urged people to follow tier three rules.

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