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Organisers of Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market have confirmed that the popular festive event will not take place this year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The market, which attracts around 5 million visitors a year, marks the start of the festive season when it opens in November. This will be the first time since 2001 it has not taken place.

Kurt Stroscher,  Frankfurt City Council’s Director of Festivals and Events, said: “The decision to cancel the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market has been made with a very heavy heart. We have carefully explored all possible options, because of its importance to the public, traders and local economy but the health and safety of visitors had to be our top priority.

“Christmas markets like this are a place for socialising and ‘cosy closeness’, which couldn’t be offered with social distancing and hygiene rules introduced to help protect people from Covid-19. Consideration was also given to the possibility visitors might not adhere to the social distancing rules and behave in ways that they have been used to in the past.

“Under no circumstances did we want the Christmas market to become a place that promotes the pandemic.

“Therefore, the right decision could only be to not bring the market to Birmingham this year.  We will now concentrate all our efforts on 2021 in order to return with an impressive Christmas market in its recognisable form.”

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of the council, said: “The Frankfurt Christmas Market is one of Birmingham’s great festive events,  attracting millions of people to the city centre – so it is disappointing we won’t be hosting the market this year, but I welcome the organiser’s decision to put the public’s health and safety first.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in planning and staging the market who works so hard, all year round, to make this such a well-run and special festive event.

“In the meantime Birmingham is still open. Christmas will look a little different this year so we can all enjoy it safely – and we look forward to seeing the market return for its 21st year in 2021.”