Christmas celebrations are set to go ahead this year across the Borough.
It was proposed this evening that subject to NI Executive and PHA guidance and restrictions, to partially revert to traditional Christmas activities but with mitigations in place to protect the public and reduce crowd densities.
If the traditional switch on / Santa experience is not deemed to be safe with mitigations in place, the Council's Events Team will pursue a contingency plan to include a Christmas themed cavalcade travelling through towns on switch-on day and visiting local communities where possible. This would include Santa, the Elves, Christmas - themed characters and the Mayor. Families will be encouraged to stay within their own area where possible.
The distribution of selection boxes if deemed safe, may be explored through issue to community groups / schools.
Councillors further heard how the Tourism Events team will also look at options for pop-up town entertainment in conjunction with the Town Centre team. Town Centre venues will be evaluated in terms of the appropriateness for events and measures put in place to ensure safe access and egress for the public.
Mitigations at each event may include but not limited to :
• Social Distancing (maintaining spectators within bubbles).
• Ticketed events which are pre-booked.
• Contact Tracing.
• Enhanced COVID stewarding / marshals.
• Queueing systems.
• More time - limited-duration events.
• Restricted numbers of spectators at events at any one time.
• COVID-safe programming eg. avoiding close contact programming.
• Enhanced cleansing and sanitisation.
Proposed switch on dates are :
Ballymoney - 18th November
Limavady 20th November
Ballycastle - 25th November
Coleraine - 26th November
Portstewart - 27th November
Dungiven - 27th November
Garvagh - 29th November
Portrush - 3rd December
Kilrea - 4th December
It was further proposed that social media updates would be available to those shielding.
Last year Christmas was celebrated in a virtual format, with content uploaded to the Visit Causeway and Events Facebook pages.
The final decision will be ratified at a full council meeting at the start of next month.
Further details on each event will be published in due course.