Manchester's Christmas Markets officially cancelled this year following months of uncertainty
Manchester City Council had kept the festivities 'under review' and explored a range of options to make the popular event possible, but they have today decided to cancel the markets altogether.
Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester's Christmas spokesperson, confirmed the proposed smaller markets, modelled on the regular Maker's Markets seen in Piccadilly Gardens and the Great Northern Warehouse, did not meet public health approval.
The news comes just days after the government revealed the new tiered lockdown system, in which Greater Manchester was placed into the 'High' coronavirus alert level - escaping the toughest restrictions set out in Tier 3.
"We’ve cancelled everything. It’s not met our commercial and public health tests, so the three markets in those locations have been cancelled, and won’t take place," he said,
"It was a million miles from the traditional Christmas Markets, which obviously people would have been very anxious about.
"Wall-to-wall markets were never part of our planning on it, we're not that daft. The health of all of us, we could never take any risks with that."
The latest plans had outlined three single-row markets at Piccadilly Gardens, Deansgate and Cathedral Gardens.
Attracting thousands of visitors from Lancashire and the rest of the North West each year, the markets would have been kicking off in the coming weeks.
A number of other festive events in the city, including this year's Christmas lights switch-on event, New Year's Eve fireworks and Bonfire Night celebrations, have all also been called off.
Mr Karney added: "It's going to be a very unusual Christmas in Manchester but what we're going to do is put up additional lighting through the city centre and more static lighting attractions.
"I don't want Manchester to have a North Korean Christmas.
"Adults know what's at stake in terms of health but I think kids will be bewildered about what's happening this Christmas - I'd like to point out that Father Christmas isn't poorly and all the kids in the city can expect him to visit us."