WINCHESTER Cathedral’s Christmas Market has been cancelled, organisers have announced.
They say the event is no longer viable “due to the recent increase in Covid-19 cases, growing uncertainty and the tightening of government restrictions”.
The famous market, which draws tens of thousands of visitors from across the world, was due to go ahead on November 19 in a more socially-distanced way, with chalets spread over a much wider area and without the ice rink.
The news comes after Southampton’s festive market was also shelved, as well as the city’s Christmas lights switch-on.
A statement from Winchester Cathedral said: “It is with great sadness we announce that the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market will not be taking place this year.
“We have carefully explored all possible options for the much-loved Christmas Market and are very grateful for the ongoing support and guidance of our partners at Winchester City Council, Winchester BID, the Safety Advisory Group and Public Health England.
“However, as health and safety continues to be our highest priority, we have concluded it is no longer possible to proceed with the Christmas Market due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, growing uncertainty and the tightening of government restrictions.”
The statement added: “We know this will be deeply disappointing for many, and not least, those who visit each year to enjoy the festivities as part of their Christmas tradition with friends and family.
“This is going to be a significantly challenging time for the 30 charities, 120 small independent retailers, local businesses and suppliers across the region that the market supports, as well as for Winchester Cathedral.
“We will be working hard with our partners to find alternative ways to support the city, after what has been a difficult year for many, and to bring festive cheer to Winchester in both traditional and new creative ways.”