Mourning in 2018 by an attack that killed five people, hampered the following year by important security measures then purely and simply canceled in 2020: in recent years, the “Christkindelsmärik” (“market of the child Jesus” in Alsatian) fell from Charybdis to Scylla.

This year, health situation requires, the return of this event which drains 1.5 million visitors and generates 250 million euros in financial benefits, will be at the cost of strict measures, on which the Bas prefecture has been working for weeks. -Rhin and the ecological town hall.

If the health pass will not be required to access the perimeter of the event, scheduled until December 26, it will be required to eat in demarcated areas. Likewise, the mask will be compulsory. Controls will be carried out and mediators will walk the aisles to remind people of the importance of barrier gestures.

Hydroalcoholic gel will also be available on all the chalets, which are more spaced this year from each other and distributed in wider aisles to facilitate the flow of visitors and avoid the effects of congestion.

The market “invests thirteen places (…) with more than 300 chalets. Impossible to impose on the inhabitants the sanitary pass for a month ”on the whole perimeter, justified to AFP, the EELV mayor of Strasbourg, Jeanne Barseghian.

“Tailored”

Faced with an extremely volatile epidemic situation, the prefecture and town hall have therefore opted for variable geometry measures, which may change depending on the incidence rate.

It was thus planned that if it crossed the 200 mark, which is now the case in Alsace, the catering areas (“food courts”) would only be accessible with a health pass. The town hall took note of this on Tuesday, 72 hours before the inauguration, specifying that “drinks” and “food” could only be consumed in these areas.

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“After the sanitary pass control at the entrance, you can sit down to eat and drink,” said Barseghian, boasting “a simultaneous capacity of 1,000 places”.

“Tailor-made” so as not to penalize exhibitors: “76 chalets out of 300 offer food products,” she explained.

In Germany, where the health situation is even more degraded, some cities, such as Munich or Heilbronn, have canceled their Christmas market, or postponed it sine die, such as Saarbrücken.

This scenario is feared in the Grand Est, in a context of a “dazzling” fifth wave, as government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Sunday.

But the mayor of Strasbourg does not want to believe it. The cancellation “is not on the agenda”, she reacted, emphasizing the work carried out “with the State and the ARS”, the regional health agency.

“Optimism”

In addition to the Covid epidemic, the security risk will still be present this year, with “a particularly high level of terrorist threat (…)” in France and Strasbourg, warned in early November, the prefect of Bas-Rhin, Josiane Chevalier, announcing the mobilization on the side of the police of “more than 700 people”.

If the systematic checks at checkpoints on the outskirts of the market, little appreciated by visitors and Strasbourg residents, are abandoned, the police will carry out “random, numerous and dynamic checks” at the entrance and in the market, detailed the prefect.

Not to discourage Nadia Coelsch, whose family has been present “for more than 80 years” on the Strasbourg Market and who, at the dawn of this 451st edition, is showing its “optimism”. “We’ve been living with (the epidemic) for almost two years, people are used to it,” she continues, putting the finishing touches to her confectionery chalet “Les Délices”, located on Place Kléber.

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“If everyone respects the barrier gestures and does the right thing, it should be okay. I trust, ”she smiles.

(The essential / afp)

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