York’s St Nicholas Fair Christmas Markets cancelled for 2020

Make It York and City of York Council have today announced that York’s St Nicholas Fair will not be going ahead this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Following the announcement that the government’s three-tier restriction system has resulted in York being added to the ‘medium’ alert level, and with Covid-19 infection rates rising above the national average, this has resulted in a change to city-wide celebrations, including the city’s Christmas market. 

Whilst the markets will not be going ahead as planned this year, Christmas is certainly not cancelled. Make It York and City of York Council will be working together with partners and businesses across the city to ensure Christmas in York remains a magical and unique experience for local residents.  

The focus for the city’s festive marketing activity this year will now aim to encourage a sense of community, shopping local, and supporting our local traders – recognising the individual and unique offers of York’s businesses who have worked so hard to continue keeping the city safe.   

Make It York and City of York Council will work closely alongside partners to support and promote the city’s retailers, hospitality and attraction businesses, promoting York in line with public health and Government guidance as a safe place for people to visit responsibly.   

Sean Bullick, Managing Director of Make It York said:

“It is with deep sadness that we’ve had to cancel the 2020 Christmas market. This decision has not been taken lightly and we’ve been working hard behind the scenes with City of York Council and the Safety Advisory Group to consider all possible options and look at ways to run a safe event.  We know how important this event is for the city however, our paramount priority continues to be the health and wellbeing of our residents, visitors, traders and the city as a whole. Safety considerations must come first, and the decision to cancel this year’s physical event is in line with the latest public health advice in this area.  

We understand the impact this will have on local traders, retailers and other hospitality businesses across the city and we will be working hard to support them over the next few months and promote the unique festive offering that the city has.  

Plans are underway for a virtual Christmas market hosted on the Visit York website which will celebrate the outstanding diversity of local traders, retailers and businesses across the city and allow people to experience a taste of what York has to offer from the comfort of their own home.     

We are also developing plans for ways to promote York as a warm and welcoming place for residents to explore and enjoy over the festive season, working alongside City of York Council and other partners across the city to implement this activity. 

We are already looking ahead to 2021 and planning for how we can work with City of York Council, and our traders and businesses across the city to bring the Christmas market back.”  

Councillor Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities, said:  

“This is of course extremely disappointing, but public safety has to be at the heart of every decision.  And while the way we celebrate has to be a little different this year, York will always be magical at Christmas.  

The city’s fantastic businesses and responsible residents have already risen to the massive challenges of 2020. By continuing to work together we can protect the people and places we love while giving our residents and businesses a special festive season.” 

Andrew Lowson, Executive Director of York BID said:

“There is still so much to enjoy in the city – the BID have started to install the 15km of lights which transform our beautiful city over the festive period, and our local businesses are making preparations to offer a quality festive experience in a safe and controlled environment. We hope that people will continue to support local businesses and soak up the unique atmosphere found in York at Christmas time.” 

Martin Bradnam, Chair Person of Hospitality Association York, said:

“I feel Make It York’s approach to the Christmas Market was bold and forward thinking in both supporting York as a tourism destination, but also local business from retail to hospitality. The planning was collaborative, and detailed and its approach with public safety as a core pillar was sensible. The could have been the only Christmas market in operation this year in the UK. Whilst it is really disappointing that the market has now been cancelled, this is in the interests of public safety and is the right thing to do, in line with current Government guidelines at the current time”

More information about York at Christmas can be found here: www.visityork.org/whats-on/christmas 


Notes to Editor 

Make It York  

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment. 

One of Make It York’s strategic aims is to promote York as a brilliant place to do business, helping to support business growth and innovation across a range of business sectors, such as financial & professional services, rail and high value manufacturing and to stimulate greater inward investment. 

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