Basel Christmas Market cancelled

03/11/2020 (12:30)
Press release

It was with great regret that the Government took the decision today to cancel Basel Christmas Market. The Federal Government's new Covid-19-Ordinance Special Situation has altered the prevailing conditions. Given the current development of the pandemic, the risks to health are too great and staging the event is indefensible. The Christmas lights and the decorated Christmas trees nevertheless promise that advent in the city centre will be atmospheric.

In view of the major efforts undertaken by those responsible for staging the Christmas market, today’s decision was not easy for the Government to make. Basel Christmas Market had to be planned from the outset with the reservation that it could be cancelled at short notice. The low Covid-19 infection rates in August and September gave rise to the hope that staging the market would be defensible with a strict safety policy. The plan was therefore to stage the Christmas market with limited visitor numbers and corresponding admission control, as well as compulsory mask wearing. In recent days, however, the pandemic situation has deteriorated to such an extent that the safety of market operators and visitors cannot be guaranteed, despite all of the measures planned in the safety policy. This concerns not least the catering area and, in particular, the waiting area in front of the entrances where no more than 15 people may gather.

Sabine Horvath, Head of External Affairs and Marketing expresses her regret about the decision to cancel the event: “until today we were still hoping to be able to stage the Christmas market with the corresponding measures, but the situation has deteriorated day by day with regard to both the prevailing conditions and the range that could be offered.” In recent days, market operators have also expressed doubt about economic viability under the conditions that have been imposed, and individual stand operators have themselves cancelled for health or financial reasons. 

Even though it has been necessary to cancel the Christmas market, the illuminations in the shopping streets and the festively decorated trees still promise an atmospheric advent. Münsterplatz will still have Christmas decorations on its trees, as well as a large Christmas tree in front of the cathedral. The big wheel will still be operating throughout advent and beyond.