Residents who attended the Christmas market and Winter Wonderland in Nottingham city centre at the weekend have spoken of their shock at the lack of organisation and the sheer number of people there.
The opening day of the attraction quickly turned into a Covid hot-spot and the market and all the rides were closed down 24 hours later.
Fashion student Alina Serrano, 19, said: “I went at 8pm but they were already trying to close.
“The one-way entrance was invisible but there was fencing. I couldn’t see any police. It was so disorganised.”
Concerns arouse of the public’s safety after the event, which opened on December 5 in Old Market Square.
Visitors arrived in their thousands which led to questionable overcrowding despite Nottingham’s tight tier three restrictions.
A statement from Nottingham City Council and the Mellors Group on December 6 said: “An increase in numbers of the people around Old Market Square after 6pm led to a decision to close the market early on Saturday.
“Now that we have seen how busy the city centre was overall yesterday, we have taken the decision to not reopen the market at all again this year.
“We’re sorry it has not worked out.”
— Meridon (@resilientwoman8) December 5, 2020
Many residents were confused about why the decision was taken to open the markets in the midst of the strict tier three restrictions that the city currently faces.
Lisa Jane said: “It should not have gone ahead. We had the lockdown for a reason – to save lives.
“Lockdown has been hard on everyone but this is a waste of time now.”
The city entered Tier 3 after lockdown, meaning pubs and restaurants were takeaway only.
In theory the markets could have been a great solution to these restrictions but the sheer number of people at the markets meant that it was unable to happen.
Nottingham resident Derek Baker described the markets as madness saying: “A stupid plan made during a national lockdown, to take place during the highest Tier 3 restriction.
“A recipe for more infections and possibly death.”
“A recipe for more infections and possibly death”
Other visitors described the area as being ‘ridiculously busy’ with people knocking into you and ‘many not wearing masks’.
Two days later and Winter Wonderland lies silent while people go about their usual business.
Tier three restrictions:
- Pubs and restaurants to be takeaway only
- Only mix with your own household or support bubble indoors
- Rule of 6 for meeting up outdoors
- Non-essential shops can open
- Working from home is encouraged
- Indoor entertainment is shut
- Gyms and pools can open