Frankfurt cancels Christmas market over virus spike

The German city of Frankfurt has become the latest to cancel its traditional Christmas market as the nation struggles to halt an alarming rise in coronavirus infections.

“Frankfurt is pulling the corona emergency brake,” the bestselling Bild daily wrote after city officials decided in emergency talks late Saturday.

The Frankfurt “Weihnachtsmarkt” is one of Germany’s most popular Christmas markets and usually attracts more than two million visitors who come to sip mulled wine, nibble on roasted chestnuts and shop for seasonal trinkets among a cluster of wooden chalets.

“Our goal remains to avoid another lockdown,” Frankfurt mayor Peter Feldmann said in a statement.

The worsening pandemic has already forced a slew of other German cities, including Berlin, Duesseldorf and Cologne, to announce they are scrapping or severely curtailing their Christmas markets, although major ones are still going ahead in Munich and Nuremberg.

Germany is home to some 2,500 Christmas markets each year that kick off the festive season in late November and are much loved by locals and tourists alike.

They draw about 160 million domestic and international visitors annually who bring in revenues of three to five billion euros ($3.6-5.9 billion), according to the BSM stallkeepers’ industry association. (AFP)

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