'Don't hide behind Covid': Londoners angry at no NYE fireworks for a second year

13 October 2021, 14:25 | Updated: 13 October 2021, 14:59

By James Morris

Londoners and tourists alike are questioning Sadiq Khan’s decision to cancel the capital’s New Year’s Eve firework display for a second year.

The mayor of London announced the world-famous display will not be held on the banks of the Thames this year “due to the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Many people are sceptical, however.

One person told LBC in Leicester Square today: “I don’t think you can continue to hide behind Covid if that’s the reason you’re giving for cancelling them, especially as [England] is opening up again.”

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'Cop-out'? Some Londoners have questioned the New Year's Eve firework cancellation
'Cop-out'? Some Londoners have questioned the New Year's Eve firework cancellation. Picture: Alamy/LBC

Boris Johnson lifted all restrictions on social contact on 19 July.

She went on: “Most people aren’t wearing masks any more because they’re vaccinated. It just doesn’t seem quite right if that’s the excuse that’s given.”

Her companion added: “Even if you’re not here to watch them [live], being able to watch them on telly… it’s a thing families do together.

"So I think it’s quite disappointing, especially when you’re a child, it’s quite exciting.”

The last New Year firework ceremony in London that was open to the public was on 1 January, 2020
The last London New Year firework ceremony that was open to the public was on 1 January, 2020. Picture: Getty

Another questioned whether Mr Khan was using the virus as a “cop-out” as part of a “money saving exercise”.

"It will be a shame not to watch it."

Mr Khan promised the capital will still be “welcoming the new year in a spectacular way”.

New Year’s Eve 2020 saw the live event replaced with a special BBC broadcast.

LBC presenter Nick Ferrari was among those who reacted furiously to the cancellation today, asking: “Why?!”

"I would imagine 60,000 people were at Wembley yesterday for England vs Hungary," he said.

"80,000 people, you can bet your life will be in Twickenham in November for England v Australia.

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"35,000 people will be in Trafalgar Square for the Diwali celebrations later this month.

"I bet you any money you like that New York does its celebration, Paris does its celebration, everybody else does their celebrations."

Top scientists, including Professor Chris Whitty, have repeatedly warned the NHS is in for another difficult winter with potential Covid and flu surges as people spend more time indoors.