BRADFORD residents have been urged not to hold any Bonfire events and risk spreading Covid 19.

It has been suggested that they instead find alternative ways to celebrate the season, such as making toffee apples and eating parkin.

Bradford Council and its partners in the emergency services and housing sector are asking all residents to find alternatives to traditional Bonfire Night celebrations because of the risk of spreading the disease.

No organised bonfire and firework events are allowed to take place and the authority is asking people not to create their own unofficial events which can add the risk of accidents to the risks of the virus.

The Council says meeting the social distancing guidance and ensuring that no more than six people attend a bonfire in a public space would be "extremely difficult to enforce" so they should not take place this year.

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It comes after emergency services put out a joint statement this week raising concerns that unauthorised bonfire events could lead to injury and uncontrolled spread of fire.

A statement from the Council pointed out that with people banned from visiting other homes, people should "think about alternative ways to celebrate Bonfire Night at home for this year only."

It added: "This could include traditional food such as parkin cake, toffee apples, treacle toffee and party games not involving fire or fireworks.

"Staying at home would also reduce the pressure on our emergency services which have enough work to do during the current pandemic. Our emergency workers need to stay safe too.

"An absence of loud fireworks and anti-social behaviour will be welcome, especially by older and vulnerable people and also give nervous pets a respite from the stress of the bonfire period."

Cllr Abdul Jabar, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, said: “We know this will be a huge disappointment for many people but we have to continue to make safety our main priority.

“There is no way at all to hold bonfire and firework events without putting people at risk of catching the Covid-19 virus.

“If young people become infected at bonfire events they run the risk of passing on the virus to more vulnerable older people in their home who may also be elderly and suffering from underlying health conditions.

“It just doesn’t make sense to gamble with people’s lives for the sake of a few fireworks.

“We are urging people not to celebrate except to have a close family party at home.”

Superintendent Mark Jessop, of Bradford District Police, said: “This year is going to be a lot different from any other year due to the current restrictions and guidance in relation to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic which will mean that formal events will not be taking place.

"We urge people to continue to follow the guidance and local lockdown restrictions which are in place across the majority of West Yorkshire."

“Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, we have continued to engage with the public regarding restrictions as they have evolved and this will remain our approach.

"Our officers will continue to focus on engaging, explaining and encouraging with enforcement where necessary.

“Any anti-social and criminal behaviour will not be tolerated and we need our communities to help us by providing information about anyone involved in this potentially dangerous behaviour.

“Above all, we do want everyone to enjoy the celebrations and stay safe.”

Fire Service District Commander for Bradford Benjy Bush said: “We know that this year Bonfire Night is looking very different and large organised events are cancelled, which we usually recommend as the safest way to enjoy a well regulated and often spectacular fireworks display.

“It’s very important that people take note of our safety advice and do not have a bonfire in their own back gardens, as there’s always the potential for fire to spread or people to be injured by fireworks.

“This is really not worth the risk to you or your family, and it is not worth the risk of putting an extra strain on the emergency services and NHS at this time during the pandemic.

“So please show your support for the emergency services and the NHS by staying home and staying safe and when we are able to, we will all enjoy festivities such as Bonfire Night all the more.”

Harry Whittle, Director of Incommunities – Building and Estate Services, said: “We are in unprecedented times and we would urge all our customers to follow the current regulations and if they are celebrating within their household to do so responsibly and with regard for the wellbeing of others.

“In support of the local measures, our teams will be looking out for fly-tipped rubbish and removing any bonfires on our land for the safety of everyone.”