By Luke Patrick
The Manchester Christmas markets provide weeks of magic for excited shoppers every year.
Whether it’s buying some new additions to the Christmas tree or buying one of the new
Christmas market mugs. After last year’s cancellation due to the coronavirus pandemic the
markets are even more popular than ever. However, this has brought some stall owners to
worry about the concerns that the markets could act as a catalyst for Covid-19 cases.
The owner of the stall Rita’s Reign Street Food which is located at the Piccadilly Gardens.
Specialising in Afro-Caribbean, Boneless Street food, Olivia Linsdell said: “I do think that with
the lack of social distancing measures that have been put in place I do think that will
definitely cause a spike.” Stalls having the wooden forks and sauces at the front for people
to use was also creating a risk as lots of people would be frequently touching the same
surfaces, this was also raised as a concern. Ms Linsdell said: “The only sort of contact that
we come in between our customers is when we are handing the food over.” While less
prevalent the Covid-19 mitigating measures remain in place.
However, another stall owner disagrees with the idea that the festive events will lead to a
spike. Jim Bhutto, the manager for the Indian street food stall said that people are less
concerned about the risk of Covid-19 now, as people are proceeding normally. Mr Bhutto
said: “there wasn’t any Christmas markets last year, so people are more energised to come
out.” Despite not being as worried about coronavirus as other stall owners Mr Bhutto and
his staff are still taking precautions. He said: “we are all double jabbed and I am triple
jabbed now”. He described last year as “devastating” having to let go of all his staff during
the lockdown. As a business that only does events, while there is still a risk of infection it
seems this market is too important to miss. Despite a struggle to find the right labour. Mr
Bhutto explained “we are offering £12 an hour and we still can’t find people.”
The organisers have implemented their own Covid-19 safety measures such as a one-way
system around the Piccadilly Gardens site, along with hand sanitising stations at each
entrance. While the market events are exciting there may be a price to pay in terms of