The city council has cancelled the 2020 Lincoln Christmas Market due to the ongoing threat of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The City of Lincoln Council said this was “to ensure the safety of all those visiting and operating the market.”
The Christmas market has been held in Lincoln since 1982 and is widely considered to be the oldest such market in the country.
It hosts over 200 stalls in the uphill area around the Castle and Cathedral over four days, with some 250,000 visitors visiting the city.
The council was concerned about the large footfall in Lincoln over the next six months, which includes both the annual market and the Christmas lights switch-on.
Simon Colburn, Assistant Director for Health at City of Lincoln Council, said: “This has not been an easy decision to make, but the health and wellbeing of staff, traders, residents and visitors is of utmost importance to us.
“The threat of coronavirus is likely to last for a significant amount of time, and to hold the Lincoln Christmas Market, where social distancing would be impossible, our priority must be the safety of all those involved.
“Given that the Christmas lights switch on is a static event with crowd densities of around 2-3 people per square metre in front of the stage, it would also be difficult to hold a normal Christmas lights switch on if social distancing exists in any form in December.
“Currently, we are in discussions to bring smaller, alternative events to the city, to ensure the Christmas spirit remains alive, and to help the local economy during the festive period.”
In recent years the Lincoln Christmas Market has been cancelled only twice, in 2010 due to heavy snowfall on safety grounds, and for the last day in 2017 due to severe weather forecasts that didn’t materialise.
Based on previous losses, cancelling the Lincoln Christmas Market should save the City of Lincoln Council around £100,000, but the loss to the city’s economy could be 20 times higher, based on council estimates.