Christmas market shut down after shoppers appear to snub social distancing rules

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A Christmas market in Nottingham has been closed by police over concerns of a lack of social distancing.

The market on Old Market Square was promptly closed on Saturday after images appeared of thronging crowds swarming the area with an apparent disregard for social distancing.

Officers from Nottinghamshire Police were on the scene throughout the day to break up larger groups.

However, reports have now stated that market organisers, the Mellors Group, have shut down the festive stalls – just days after shops reopened in Englad following a country-wide lockdown.

Locals have been astonished that the market had been allowed to go ahead in the first place as Nottinham is within the Tier 3 restrictions that are supposed to be the toughest with only essential stores supposed to remain open.

One eyewitness told Sky News: "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."

They added: "I was highly uncomfortable being there so we literally went home after five minutes."

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The Mellors Group has addressed their decision to shut down the marked in a statement.

They 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.

"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 opening of the market has angered some local businesses.

Nottingham Bowl owner Pete Terry told Nottinghamshire Live: "There must have been thousands of people there last night, queuing, hugging and dancing.

"I am not cool with what I saw last night because that is going against us getting into Tier 2 and reopening our bowling alley.

"It costs us £5,000 a week to keep our bowling alley shut because of rent, electricity and overheads. The longer we stay shut the longer we lose £5,000 a week.

"This is not just us but all pubs and restaurants across the city who aren't allowed to open. Tier 3 is supposed to be super strict.

"There was no social distancing there. It is a disgrace. We need to shut it down."

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Elsewhere, another eyewitness told Nottinghamshire Live: "I was baffled it was going ahead to be honest. The scenes yesterday were chaotic. It was so busy.

"It was bound to happen that it would be busy. All of the city was. We can't risk being in Tier 3 longer than we need to be.

"I do feel for the market traders having to close after one day. It's not easy for them and they will have bought all their stock."

  • Christmas
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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