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Fireworks and Festivities Stood Down Amid Pandemic

Alternative ways to make Christmas special are being considered in South Tyneside as key festive events and fireworks displays are called off this year.

Like events across the whole of the UK, large scale celebrations and festivities are being stood down this year, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The annual fireworks displays, which are traditionally held at South Shields seafront in November, will no longer go ahead.

The Borough's much-loved Christmas lights switch-on events in South Shields, Jarrow and Hebburn town centres as well as the popular Camel Parade and fireworks finale have also been cancelled.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "Christmas is such as special time of year, we know that, like us, residents, businesses and visitors, will be extremely saddened and disappointed that these events will not be taking place this year.

"But we know that they will also understand that public safety must come first and that this is the right decision in line with the Government's advice to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"Our spectacular fireworks displays and stunning Christmas lights switch-ons are key highlights in our events calendar and attract thousands of people every year. As such, it would simply not be possible for us to ensure the safety of those gathering.

"Due to the open access nature and size and scale of these events, we would have had great difficulty ensuring Covid secure measures were in place to help control numbers and support social distancing. The guidance around 'track and trace' also presents huge challenges. Sadly, we have been left with no other option but to call these events off.

"Despite this, we are really keen to make Christmas special, particularly during what has been a dreadful year of uncertainty for everyone. We are working hard behind the scenes to look at what else we can do within the Covid guidelines to help spread Christmas cheer and bring joy to South Tyneside families and visitors, while also keeping people safe."

Christmas lights and decorations will be put in place across the Borough as normal for people to enjoy throughout the festive season.

The Council is also looking at the feasibility of moving the annual Christmas Fayre outdoors. In previous years it has been held within Haven Point and was due to take place within The Word for 2020. Other key annual events, such as Remembrance Services and the Civic Carol Concert - and the format they may take - have yet to be decided.

For updates follow South Tyneside Events on social media: Facebook (South Tyneside Events) or Twitter @stynesideevents

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