Christmas Walkabout cancelled
The traditional Christmas Walkabout in the Town of St George has been axed this year because of the coronavirus.
Belcario Thomas, the co-chairman for the East End Division of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said that the decision to cancel the shopping and cultural event for the first time in its 45-year-history was another blow to businesses already hard-hit by the Covid-19 loss of tourism.
Mr Thomas added: “The Christmas Walkabout's traffic will be missed — it had begun to increase buy-in from area residents and businesses. Perhaps a non-Christmas walkabout, may be seeded to promote the Olde Towne safely instead, with themed businesses and homes.”
A spokeswoman for the Bermuda National Trust, which organises the annual event, told the public: “While we are sad not to celebrate with the thousands of you who head to St George's on the first Friday in December every year, we will make sure the festive season includes some of the popular elements of the Christmas Walkabout.
“We look forward to welcoming visitors to Tucker House and The Globe for exclusive Christmas tours and to Waterville for our Holiday Pop-Up in December. The Walkabout has been a traditional highlight for visitors and residents — as well as the St George's community.
“We encourage our members and supporters to visit the Old Towne, and enjoy what it has to offer in December.”
Mr Thomas said that many businesses in the Olde Towne had been shuttered most of the time over the pandemic and that “significant investment” was required to prepare for the opening of the new St Regis hotel early next year.
He added that East End businesses had been running with reduced days and hours, with many open only on Saturdays.
Mr Thomas said: “The town is up and running now, just with less than adequate experiences to meet expectations of five-star hotel guests, but for a couple of restaurants, one or two retail outlets, tours and a perfumery.
“The area needs significant investment into the experience as guided by a strategic town plan, a survey on which was distributed by the Corporation of St George's last month and is still available online.”
But he added the picture was not completely bleak: “There have been new successful East End concepts enjoyed, which also provides short-term confidence including the launch of al fresco dining, a sold out White Party Dinner last Thursday at Fort St Catherine ... and the St George's seafood festival at several restaurants, which enjoyed an uptick in sales and traffic this past weekend.”