Nottingham Christmas market closed after social distancing criticisms


The Christmas market in Nottingham has been shut down after organisers faced criticism over the lack of social distancing.

Pictures were shared online of the busy market showing large crowds gathered in Old Market Square on Saturday, with some raising concerns over the hundreds of people seemingly breaking the rules.

On Sunday, the Mellors Group, which operates the Christmas market, said it had to temporarily close the attraction due to “unprecedented high footfall”.

Nottinghamshire Police said officers were at the market all day to provide visible presence and to break up large crowds in the area.

Games designer Luke Brown, 24, from The Meadows area of Nottingham, said there were at least a couple of hundred people at the market, describing it as “crazy”.

Speaking to the PA news agency, he said: “I was on the outskirts of the market as there were so many people on the inside, many people were not wearing any masks at all and there was definitely no two-metre distancing.

Coronavirus – Sun Dec 6, 2020
Coronavirus – Sun Dec 6, 2020

“I was highly uncomfortable being there so we literally went home after five minutes.”

In a statement, the Mellors Group said: “In light of the unprecedented high footfall seen up and down the country for retail nationally, we have decided to temporarily close the Christmas market (Sunday).

“The pent-up demand for a city centre offer was far higher than normal and we feel this is the most appropriate way forward.

“This will allow us to monitor footfall in the city centre today and ensure that our activities support residents and local businesses in an appropriate fashion.”

The city was placed in Tier 3 – the toughest measures – of the new Covid-19 restrictions which came into force in England from Wednesday after the four-week national lockdown ended.