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Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre is cancelled amid coronavirus outbreak

A Suffolk Christmas Fayre that usually draws in crowds of more than 130,000 people has been cancelled this year due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Organisers say the event in Bury St Edmunds cannot go ahead as public services need to concentrate their efforts into tackling the virus and supporting businesses in West Suffolk.

The decision follows instructions from the government not to tie up public and emergency services in events so they can concentrate on prioritising actions against the coronavirus.

Bosses at West Suffolk council, say the move to cancel this year's event frees up their officers and resources to support businesses in the area.

They also say that it is unclear at this stage if the event would be able to go ahead anyway, as nobody knows how long government restrictions on mass-gatherings will be in place.

Cllr John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council, said:

“We know how popular the fayre is and it is with a heavy heart we have taken this decision. But in the circumstances, and when you see events like the Olympics being postponed, it is the right one. Planning for the Christmas Fayre is a massive task and much has to be planned or booked now. Postponing it this year means we and our emergency service partners can continue to concentrate on helping our businesses and communities through this difficult time. It also means that we can free up resources to not only help residents and businesses across West Suffolk who are facing hardships now but also in their economic recovery down the road. We understand many may be disappointed, but this really is the sensible way forward to ensure we focus on helping our businesses and emergency services to weather the current challenges brought by the pandemic. It will also hopefully put us all in a better position, come Christmas, to celebrate and help businesses in Bury St Edmunds and throughout West Suffolk make the most of the festive season.”

– Cllr John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council

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