New Year’s Eve Fireworks event cancelled due to Covid risk

16 December 2021

SUNDERLAND’S New Year fireworks event has been cancelled, as the country is gripped by a surge in Covid cases.

Riverside Sunderland was due to play host to the family-friendly event, featuring a 15-minute aerial display and live on-stage entertainment. 

However, as the threat posed by the Omicron variant grows, Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) have taken the very difficult decision to cancel the event, to ensure that people stay safe. 

The decision follows a discussion with all LA7 councils to cancel fireworks events in the region to ensure people stay safe.  While firework displays are exempt from Covid pass requirements, the decision was taken to cancel the event due to the large crowds that would gather.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re really disappointed to have to cancel Sunderland’s New Year’s Eve activities, which were a new addition to the city events programme and something we know many families were looking forward to attending.  In the end though, it is the right thing to do, as we face another surge in Covid cases owed to this new variant. 

“Our health services have worked tirelessly for almost two years to protect this city and we owe it to them to minimise the risk of spreading this virus.  Cancelling events that would attract a ‘gathering of people’ is something we agreed - along with the six other local authorities in the North East - as being the responsible thing to do at this time.”

Sharon Appleby, chief executive of Sunderland BID said: “We’ve managed to enjoy some festivities this year, but as the risk of the Covid variant spreading grows, we have to do our bit to minimise transmission and to keep people safe.”

Though the New Year’s fireworks event is cancelled, the city’s Christmas programme is still underway, with the ice rink remaining open until Monday, January 3, 2022, with Covid safe measures in place.  To book, visit