Christmas lights switch-on event cancelled in Ripley
This year’s council-run Christmas lights switch-on event and Christmas market in Ripley have been cancelled because of Covid-19.
As of Monday, September 14, central government put a ban on gatherings of more than six people due to the risk of spreading Covid-19, with some exemptions for weddings, workplaces and schools.
This makes gatherings for firework events and Christmas light switch-ons illegal, if the policy remains in force during the times the events are typically held.
Thousands of residents across Derby and Derbyshire gather each year to attend local Christmas lights switch-on events, often accompanied by food and drink stalls.
Alongside this, many councils, whether at a city, district, town or parish level, also hold fireworks displays and bonfire night gatherings during October and November.
However, many of these are now being cancelled already or are hanging in limbo pending the spread of the virus.
And Ripley Town Council has already taken the decision cancel both its Christmas lights switch-on celebrations and its Christmas market.
The council said: “It is with deep regret that Ripley Town Council will not be holding the traditional Christmas light switch on event and the Christmas market this year.
“The Christmas light switch-on attracts around 2,000 people to Ripley Market Place and unfortunately that space is not large enough to enable safe social distancing.
“Likewise, the annual Christmas market attracts hundreds of people and we feel that with social distancing, not being able to have singers or entertainers or even Father Christmas paying us a visit, we wouldn’t be able to give our community the event they are used to.
“We understand that you may be disappointed but please know that the health and safety of our community, volunteers, stall holders and staff are paramount to us.”
Amber Valley Borough Council is also expecting other Christmas events across the borough to be cancelled in the coming weeks.
Coun Ben Bellamy, council deputy leader, said: “Light switch-ons and fireworks are generally handled by parish or town councils, or private sports clubs, for example.
Most fireworks and bonfire events that I am aware of appear to already have been cancelled.
“Any event licences would have to be considered by Amber Valley licencing, although we expect most councils and organisations will put public health first.”