Pandemic means public are urged not to gather for this week’s Christmas Trees and festive lights switch-on

Ballymena prepares for Christmas.

THE public is being urged not to gather for Christmas Tree lights switch-ons as Ballymena and other towns prepares to be illuminated for the festive season.

The lights are set to go on in Ballymena this Thursday. They will be turned on with an automatic timer at an unspecified time.

Councillors recently heard the move was taken over fears that it would be impossible for large numbers of people who normally attend such events to social distance.

Due to public health concerns and coronavirus restrictions across Northern Ireland, the traditional Christmas Switch-On events in our towns and villages will not be going ahead in their normal format, but the Mayor assures everyone that the beautiful borough of Mid and East Antrim will still be brightly illuminated and decorated.

As with every year, Council will continue to work with community groups across the borough to erect Christmas trees, however, they are encouraging members of the public not to gather around them for switch-on events.

Details of what’s planned will be shared on Council’s social channels and in the local press over coming weeks, but there is plenty for all ages to enjoy as they #Rediscover the #SpiritofMEA.

“Christmas will look different this year due to the need for us all to work together to protect the health of our community,” the Mayor continued.

“While we are unable to hold events where people might gather in large numbers, we will still all be able to share in the magic of Christmas, albeit virtually and from the comfort of our own homes.

“Council has been instrumental in helping our local businesses take every step possible to ensure we can all shop safely in our towns and villages, so we will still be able to pick up gifts for those we love at Christmas time.

“I am also very conscious that Christmas will be a difficult time for many in our community, particularly those who have lost loved ones or who find themselves under financial pressure because of the pandemic.

“But there are so many wonderful charities and community organisations who continue to go above and beyond to help families and individuals right across our borough all through the year. I encourage everyone to safely #Rediscover the #SpiritofMEA this Christmas at home.”

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