Christmas Markets Prepare to Open amid Rising Covid-19 Cases

The Christmas market held in front of the town hall in Vienna.

© Shutterstock

christmas-market

The Christmas market held in front of the town hall in Vienna.

© Shutterstock

Austria's famed Christmas markets are preparing to open their doors for the first time in two years, with strict rules in place amid rising Covid-19 cases in the Alpine country. Neighbouring Germany, meanwhile, is cancelling many of its markets as new Covid infections also rise to record levels.

Christmas markets in Austria will open from November 12, beginning with the Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of the capital's town hall and followed by others such as Christmas Village Belvedere Palace and the Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace.

All visitors will be required to show either proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. Austria this week moved to tighten up its Covid-19 measures amid rising case numbers, with negative tests no longer sufficient to access restaurants, bars and hotels.

Cancellations 

Germany is also tightening controls around its Christmas markets, with many planning to require visitors to be double vaccinated or recovered from Covid. Some, like Nuremberg's Christkindl Market, are tweaking their normal programme, replacing its usual traditional opening ceremony with an online one on November 26.

Others, such as Berlin's Charlottenburg Palace Christmas market, have been cancelled altogether. "Political decision-makers once again failed to put in place clear, realistic rules ahead of time," Deutsche Welle quoted market operator Tommy Erbe as saying. Christmas markets in Europe are not only beloved but are a big business. Deutsche Welle reported some 3,000 markets were held across Germany in 2018, attracting 160 million visitors, and generating €2.9 billion / $3.4 billion in revenue.

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