The Christmas tree of Vilnius is coming in solidarity with residents of the city – it will stay at a safe distance from everyone, spending the festive period in strict quarantine: the Vilnius Christmas tree is moving to the Internet, and will stay confined from visitors during the holidays. The City of Vilnius is sending a clear message to residents of the capital – do not plan any trips to the Cathedral Square on Christmas and the New Year.
Taking into account the gravity of the pandemic situation and strict quarantine restrictions, the City of Vilnius decided to restrict movement around a larger area of the Cathedral Square, also giving up the tradition of New Year’s fireworks, which would attract spectators to the event. The capital has chosen to celebrate the holidays safely and responsibly.
“A decision was made to physically fence the Christmas tree and to give up New Year’s fireworks for everyone’s safety, saving medical specialists and contributing to saving as many lives as possible. We all want the strictest restrictions to end as soon as possible, they are not pleasant, but absolutely necessary. We invite you to stay at home during this critical period, watch live broadcast of the Christmas tree online and hope for brighter times to come in 2021,” says Edita Tamošiūnaitė, Deputy Mayor of Vilnius.
The Christmas tree will not be accessible on December 24-27 and December 31 (the New Year’s Eve). Both Christmas trees in the Town Hall and the Cathedral squares will stay fenced on New Year’s Eve.
Other mobility restrictions around the Cathedral Square and the Christmas tree
On December 24-27, traffic and parking in Tilto Street will be prohibited. Only residents of this part of the city, who have parking permits, will be able to use it. Residents of Tilto, K. Sirvydo, Ž. Liauksmino and Radvilų streets will be able to enter these streets from Radvilų street only.
Both on December 24-27 and from 10.30 p.m. on December 31 till 01.30 a.m. on 1 January 2021, residents, whose parking permits are valid in 21 territories, will be able to enter the territories and to park their cars – the boundaries of the territory cover Vilniaus Street (from Žygimantų Street), Gedimino ave., T. Vrublevskio Street and Žygimantų Street (to Vilniaus Street). Residents whose parking permits are valid in 5 territories will be able to park cars in non-prohibited places within their territory. The boundaries of the said territory cover Pylimo, Bazilijonų, Aušra Vartų, Subačius, Bokšto, Išganytojo, Maironio, Barboros Radvilaitės, Šventaragio Streets, Gedimino avenue (to Jogailos Street) and Jogailos Street (from Gedimino Ave.).
On December 24-27, parking will be prohibited in T. Vrublevskio, Šventaragio, Tilto, Barboros Radvilaitės and Maironio Streets, prohibiting to enter the Kalnų Park and Trispalvės al.
On the New Year’s Eve, from 10.30 p.m. on 31 December till 1:30 a.m. on 1 January 2021, traffic and public transport will be closed on T. Vrublevskio, Šventaragio, Tilto and Barboros Radvilaitės Streets.
On December 31 and January 1, parking will be prohibited in parking lots next to the Cathedral Square (T. Vrublevskio, Šventaragio, Tilto, Barboros Radvilaitės and Maironio Streets), also prohibiting access to Kalnų Park and Trispalvės al.
Police forces will be intensified and municipal public order officers assisted by riflemen will be brought together to ensure the control of public spaces during the holidays. They will patrol reminding about the procedures currently in place in public spaces and the rules that must be followed. Officers will impose fines on those who fail to comply with quarantine rules, which range from EUR 500 to EUR 1500 for natural persons. Public order officers will watch to ensure there are no gatherings and monitor how masks are worn. Drones will also be used to monitor spaces.
The most beautiful Christmas tree in Europe will come to everyone’s home
Live broadcast from the Cathedral Square will be available online. Watching the Christmas tree safely without leaving home will be possible during the entire festive period till January 6.
Stricter restrictions were also imposed in other countries before holidays
In Italy, travel bans between different regions will come into force from December 21 till January 6, and residents will have to stay home on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, with curfew from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. in place. New Year’s fireworks have also been cancelled in Germany.
In Spain, there will be travel bans between different regions during the holidays, and a curfew on Christmas and New Year’s Eve obliging people to return home by 1.30 a.m. Many countries have reported that they are closing their Christmas markets. This year, Christmas markets were not set up in Austria and Italy, which are famous for them, and most of Christmas towns in Germany will also be closed (source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-5505836).
Changes in public transport
Routes of buses 10, 11 and 33 will change temporarily due to traffic restrictions from 10.30 p.m. on 31 December till 1:30 a.m. on 1 January 2021.
Bus No 10 will go to Markučiai from Žaliasis Tiltas (the Green Bridge) on Vilniaus, Jogailos, Pylimo, Bazilijonų, M. Daukšos, Žiupronių and Subačiaus Streets, then continuing in its usual route. In detouring, the bus will not stop at Karaliaus Mindaugo Tiltas, Arkikatedra, Bernardinų Sodas, Dailės Akademijos and Užupio stops, but it will additionally stop at Vinco Kudirkos Aikštė, Jogailos, Centro Poliklinika, Reformatų, MO Muziejus, Vingriai, Rūdninkų, Bazilijonų, Aušros Vartai and Misionierių stops.
Bus No 11 will go from Žvėrynas to the intersection of Pamėnkalnio – Pylimo – Jogailos Streets in its usual route, then continuing to Pylimo Street and going to Bazilijonų, M. Daukšos, Žiupronių, Subačiaus and Drujos Streets, and, having turned around in the roundabout of Drujos Street, will continue in the same route. In detouring, the bus will not stop at Jogailos, Vinco Kudirkos Aikštė, Karaliaus Mindaugo Tiltas, Arkikatedra, Bernardinų Sodas, Dailės Akademija, Vilnios, Užupis, Bernardinų Kapinės and Bernardinų stops, additionally stopping at Centro Poliklinika, Reformatų, MO Muziejus, Vingriai, Rūdninkų, Bazilijonų, Aušros Vartai, Subačiaus, Zarasų (towards Drujos Street) and Misionierių stops.
Bus No 33 will go in its usual route from Šiaurės Miestelis to Karaliaus Mindaugo Tiltas, then turning to T. Kosciuškos Street, continuing on Olandų and Drujos Streets, and going back to its usual route on Sukilėlių Street. The bus will take the same route to go back to Šiaurės Miestelis. After the changes, the bus will not stop at Arkikatedra, Bernardinų Sodas, Dailės Akademija, Užupio and Subačiaus Streets, additionally stopping at Karaliaus Mindaugo Tiltas (towards Kalnų Parkas), Kalnų Parkas, Šv. Petro ir Povilo Bažnyčia, Vasaros, Krivių, Filaretų, Polocko and Drujos stops.