Will the German Market make a return in Birmingham this year? It’s a question many people are asking.
Organisers have set the dates for when it would be here if it does go ahead.
But it all depends on the latest coronavirus guidance for large events, mass gatherings and specifically for Birmingham, which is on a Covid watch list.
Dr Justin Varney, director of Public Health in Birmingham, says there would need to be risk assessments and no definitive decision had yet been taken.
Birmingham Live readers and Brummies in general have been quick to have their say on social media.
Many didn’t think the market would – or should – end up going ahead.
Randip Bhogal said: “Can we not have an English Christmas market one year? Using local retailers selling locally sourced produce? Sick of seeing the same overpriced stuff year after year.”
Birmingham Wholesalers said: “Should not come back – look after your own businesses first who will suffer because of market.”
Cheryl Stokes said: “Let’s have a good old-fashioned Victorian market we need to help our own economy not Germany’s.”
But that misses the point of how much Birmingham itself gains from the market.
Kurt Stroscher, Frankfurt City Council’s director of festivals and events, is the man behind the German market in Birmingham.
He explained: “They (the stallholders) rent homes, they rent lorries in the UK and they pay all the costs that come with living here – shopping for food, eating out, going to the cinema, etc. Birmingham sees all those benefits.
“And every year we have about five million visitors coming in to see the market and this benefits the city council and the retailers.”
He added: “I think you’ll find most of the restaurants around the market make about 30 per cent of their income from the whole year during the time the markets are running.”
Birmingham City Council reckons the market brings financial benefits of £85 million to the city.
But some readers are still doubtful. Ange Xenos said: “In all fairness I think this Christmas is gonna be hard enough for 75% of families. This isn’t needed in Birmingham this year.”
Erica Brown wrote: “So we’ve a second wave of Covid heading our way, Birmingham is heading into a local lockdown but it’s ok, the German market is coming back… ridiculous!”
Mark Summers said: “Can’t see how it will happen, it attracts huge crowds, the council won’t risk it.”
Debbie Tyrell wrote: “No sorry, if live music venues, theatres etc cannot open then this is not welcomed either. I see an invite for Birmingham city lockdown looming.”
Mike Claridge said: “I think the bigger problem is the financial risk. They could build the stalls, traders import their wares – then Birmingham could be locked down and all off.”
Louise Berry said: “Bath Christmas Market (which is so much better than this one) was cancelled weeks ago. I’ll be surprised if this happens.”
Danny Purewal said: “I always said it would come. Brings in too much money for BCC to ignore but would cause uproar in the process.
“Why not just boycott it all together? We would only be wondering about a major wave or lockdown soon after and Bham is already under lockdown guidance as it is. Money before lives should be their new motto. If it goes ahead it would be the worst thing the council have done.”
Adam Jones commented: “The German Market is shoulder-to-shoulder the majority of the time and I can’t see how they’ll successfully impose social distancing on the event.
“With the cold/flu season reasonably expected to make the pandemic situation so much worse, I can’t really see how this is a good idea, but you know, I guess people need overpriced beer and sausage.”
Others are looking forward to the return of the market to help bring the city back to life and give it a joyful atmosphere after all these months of lockdown and ongoing restrictions.
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Harv Harvey said: “Brum needs it and no reason for it not to be there.”
Hayley Rice wrote: “We need to get back to some sort of normality, I hope it does go ahead.”
But Mark Edgehill pointed out: “There’s normality and then there’s having millions of people flocking to the city centre during a global pandemic, I just can’t see it going ahead.”
Debbie Jones said: “If it were to go ahead it needs to be in a controlled environment. Maybe a smaller event that’s enclosed and admission by free ticket only so only so many could go in. this would lesson any risk to those that want to go. Me personally, wouldn’t bother this year.”
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Jodie Louise Woodall said: “I didn’t think the Christmas Market would be open this year. Don’t get me wrong it would be could good to have some normaility, but you’re like sardines. So, I wonder how social distancing would work.”
Gareth Williams wrote: “Put it on! People can stay at home if they don’t want to go, it’s totally up to them. Need my yearly fix of garlic bread and massively expensive candied nuts.”
And NJ Chambers commented: “Get it on and set it up! If people are scared they can stay home – always the whingebags that ruin the fun!”
If the market returns, it would run for almost seven weeks from Thursday, November 5, to Wednesday, December 23.