Nottingham Labour Council have said they are "very sorry" after rolling out a Christmas market with Nottingham in 'tier three', the highest level of national COVID-19 restrictions.
Nottingham Winter Wonderland was billed as 'bigger than ever before', featuring a big wheel, fair ground rides and over 40 stalls despite Nottingham having had the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the country as recently as the end of October.
The market in Nottingham opened on Saturday but was closed less than eight hours later after widespread horror. The dangerous mistake became a source of embarrassment in press across the country and internationally as media outlets and readers reacted with shock at the council's lack of care during the pandemic.
The city council approved the event and organisers Mellors Group said it would be safe, despite countless concerns raised by residents, opposition Councillors and local organisations.
Gail Ross, from Mapperley Park, told the BBC:
This virus is a killer - what does the council not understand about that?
Geoff Williams, director of the city's Business Improvement District, also had some concerns.
"I'm still not convinced they can manage the numbers," he said. "In the state we're in, you can't just go and let your hair down and if it's just about selling things, we've got enough shops already struggling in the city centre."
Shocked residents shared their views online with Nottingham Live.
Susie Savidge wrote: "Should never have opened. You can't see family and friends in their gardens but thousands of people were allowed to not social distance there (on Saturday)."
Jackie Ashurst said: "Well done for closing but should never have opened in the first place - now you have to think about all the traders that have brought stock to sell and have no chance of selling it."
Lorna Cooper wrote: "I feel sorry for the stall holders but it's the right decision."
And Linda Abson said: "Will never understand why this was given the OK to go ahead when we are under the risk of Covid, never mind what tier people are in."
Jo Cox-Brown, from Nottingham-based Night Time Economy Solutions, called for an independent review into the decision to host the market.
They absolutely should have seen this coming. Lots of people had the opportunity and supposedly the experience to question the wisdom of it going ahead, and they didn't.
Dave Trimble, the authority's portfolio holder for leisure and culture admitted "this time we got it wrong".
He told BBC Radio Nottingham: "We thought we would support the economy in a managed way, but obviously it was not managed well enough." Instead, the Labour Council threatened Nottingham's residents and businesses with an even longer stint in Tier 3.
Councillor Andrew Rule, leader of the Conservative group on the council, said:
The news that the council has closed the market is the correct response to an ill-judged decision which created an unacceptable risk to public health and potentially jeopardises the progress made in reducing the Covid infection rate across the city over the last few weeks.
Read the full BBC News article, here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-55213484