Nuremberg’s world-famous Christmas market was cancelled this year due to the pandemic, the Bavarian city announced on Monday, as case numbers rise.

“This was a very difficult decision. The traditional Christmas market belongs to Nuremberg,” Mayor Marcus Koenig said.

The German city’s case numbers are approaching the critical level of 100 new infections per 100,000 people within a seven-day period. There are currently 76.1 cases, Bavaria’s health authorities said.

“We can assume that we will soon pass the 100 level, and the ministry’s traffic-light warning system will turn to dark red,” Koenig said.

The city had originally planned to adapt its annual Christmas market, making it more decentralized and subject to strict health regulations.

As numbers rise, however, the city has decided that allowing the market to go ahead would send the wrong signal, Koenig said.

Alongside Dresden’s annual Striezelmarkt, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany.

Traditionally, someone is nominated to play the role of the Christ Child, and opens the market with a speech to thousands of visitors in the city’s main market square. Officials are reportedly considering what role the Nuremberg Christ Child could play this year.

Other German cities have cancelled their Christmas markets, including Frankfurt and Erfurt.
Elsewhere in Europe, Christmas markets in Prague and Strasbourg were called off due to the virus.

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