NHS frontline workers will help mark the beginning of the festive season in Manchester and turn on the city’s Christmas lights.
The normal switch-on event – which attracts more than 20,000 people into the city centre – will not go ahead this year due to Covid-19 social distancing restrictions.
However, determined to mark the start of the season in the city, the Council is working with BBC Radio Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust to choose three NHS key workers from their Hospitals across the city to do the honour.
The small, socially-distanced event will take place on Tuesday, 17 November and will be live on BBC Radio Manchester and live streamed on social media for people to enjoy safely from home.
Last week, the Council confirmed the festive events that could not go ahead – including the usual Christmas Lights Switch-on event and the fireworks event on New Year’s Eve.
However, there will be Christmas Lights in the city centre as usual, and of course the Giant Santa will return – along with a trail of light sculptures through the city.
The Skate Manchester ice rink in Cathedral Gardens – which can limit entry numbers to ensure social distancing – will go ahead and tickets can be booked at www.skatemanchester.com
And tickets for Lightopia in Heaton Park – an award-winning lantern and light festival – are already on sale at www.lightopiafestival.com
To note: all events are subject to covid regulations and restrictions, and could be affected if local Covid-19 guidelines change.
Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “The Christmas Lights Switch-on won’t be able to go ahead this year – and we know this will be a great disappointment to lots of people as the event has become the official start of the festive season for generations of Mancunians.
“Public safety must be at the forefront of everything we do and events that can go ahead will be guided by public health advice – and we are determined to celebrate the season safely to support businesses that rely on custom over the Christmas period.
“So we couldn’t let the opportunity pass to celebrate with the help of workers from our invaluable NHS to thank them for keeping us all well and healthy throughout the pandemic. A huge thank you to them.”