Blow for city businesses

Edinburgh’s Christmas goes online to avoid crowds

Edinburgh Christmas

Outdoor festivities cancelled (pic: Edinburgh City Council)

Hopes of staging even a semblance of an outdoor Christmas celebration in Edinburgh have been dashed after it was decided to cancel all events likely to attract large gatherings.

The decision, which follows talks among public health officials, the city council and events producer, Underbelly, will be a further blow to shops, bars and restaurants.

Instead, the focus will move to celebrating Edinburgh’s Christmas 2020 online. 

It had already been decided to cancel the traditional street party on Hogmanay.


Edinburgh council leader Adam McVey said: “Whilst we understand the absence of popular events will bring some disappointment, we want to be clear that Edinburgh’s Christmas isn’t cancelled and our businesses right across the City will be offering their usual festive cheer for us to take advantage of.

“We look forward to announcing details of an innovative digital 2020 programme soon to help in these celebrations.”

Charlie Wood, director of Underbelly, producer of Edinburgh’s Christmas and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said: “We are exploring a different Edinburgh’s Christmas this year which will deliver a series of digital opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy from their own homes.”

Lockdown review delayed

Today’s announcement came as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that the timetable for lifting existing restrictions has been pushed back until 15 October.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland urged governments in London and Edinburgh to set out the additional support they will provide in the event of local and national lockdowns.

Andrew McRae, FSB Scotland policy chairman, said: “With further local and national restrictions still on the table, now is the opportunity for those that lead the country to detail how they’re going to help smaller businesses make it through the next stage of the crisis. 

“These operators are indispensable to the success of our local communities. Ministers can’t give up on them. That’s why they need to get ahead of the next crunch moment, and ensure that their safety net doesn’t feature gaping holes.” 

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