The city of Bratislava has cancelled the Christmas markets that were scheduled to start on November 26. There will not be any Christmas stalls on Main Square or Hviezdoslavovo Square.
The municipality reasoned its decision with the bad pandemic situation and the new Covid automat alert system, according to Bratislava spokesperson Katarína Rajčanová.
“A decisive factor is the limitations on the number of participants of mass events in the red tier to 200 people who are fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from Covid-19,” the spokesperson explained.
Bratislava is currently in the red tier, and thanks to the high vaccination rate of people over 55, it should not move into a worse tier.
The municipality addressed contracted sellers immediately after publishing the new anti-pandemic rules. Despite the municipality's offer to lower their rent for the stalls to a symbolic price, most of the sellers said that to sell at the event for a maximum of 200 people would be lossmaking and could even lead to the liquidation of their businesses when taking into consideration the number of stalls and the uncertainty of the pandemic's further development.
“We understand the justified worries of the operators of stalls and unfortunately, we have no other option than to cancel the prepared Christmas markets,” the municipality stated, adding that the health and security of the public is the priority during this pandemic.
Making Christmas atmosphere
The municipality added that it will look for ways to create a Christmas atmosphere for Bratislava inhabitants under the current measures.
“We believe that we will at least enjoy together the lighting of the Christmas tree,” Bratislava mayor Matúš Vallo said.
The Old Town borough, which organises the Christmas market on Hviezdoslavovo Square in downtown Bratislava, cancelled the markets a few days before due to the pandemic situation and lockdown for the unvaccinated that starts on November 22.