THE GERMAN Christmas Market in Leeds has become the latest victim of COVID-19.

The organisers of the popular festive event, which attracts visitors from all over including Wharfedale and Aireborough, have blamed ‘ongoing uncertainty’ about the virus for the decision.

Leeds City Council’s partners at Frankfurt City Council also say that the market has been called off in the interests of public safety.

The council will now be working with local partners to explore alternative ways to celebrate the run-up to Christmas safely.

Frankfurt City Council’s director of festivals and events, Kurt Stroscher, said: “Because of its importance to the public, traders and local economy the arguments as to whether the Christmas Market should go ahead were considered very carefully. However, the health and safety of visitors have to be the top priority.

“Christmas markets are very much a place for socialising in a warm and cosy atmosphere, with Millennium Square the perfect setting. This fundamental part of the Leeds Christmas Market’s identity cannot be achieved in a global pandemic. The organisers will now be focusing all their energies on bringing Leeds a wonderful Christmas Market in its familiar and much-loved form in 2021.”

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, said: “We’re obviously extremely disappointed and know it’s been an incredibly difficult decision for our long-time friends in Frankfurt. Rest assured though, we will still be celebrating Christmas in Leeds and we’ll be exploring new and different ways for people to be able to do that safely.”