ORGANISERS of Barrhead’s Christmas lights switch-on admit they may be forced to pull the plug on this year’s event unless further progress in tackling coronavirus is made.

Bosses at neighbouring Renfrewshire Council have already confirmed that festive celebrations in Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew won’t be taking place amid concerns that social distancing guidelines will still be in force.

That has led to fears that Barrhead’s big Christmas bash, scheduled for Saturday, November 28, may be scrapped.

The annual Hallowe’en parade that brings thousands of people into Barrhead town centre is also under threat, which would deliver a huge blow to traders who are already struggling to get through the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are also concerns that the Christmas lights switch-on in Clarkston that is due to be held on Saturday, November 14, could be cancelled.

However, the organisations which plan the East Renfrewshire events – All About Barrhead and I Love Clarkston – will wait until the start of September before making a decision.

Andy Dunlop, who manages both Business Improvement Districts, told the Barrhead News: “We still want these popular events to go ahead but it will depend very much on the government advice that prevails nearer the time.

“We would want to make sure that everything is totally safe.

“The potential date for Clarkston’s lights switch on is November 14 and Barrhead’s is November 28.

“These are very popular events which see the communities coming together, so we will be keeping an eye on things.”

A number of key events in East Renfrewshire’s social calendar have already been lost to the coronavirus pandemic so far this year.

These include Barrhead’s Rainbow Run, which had been due to be held in June, and the Neilston Agricultural Show, which was planned for May.

Laura Molloy, president of East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said the festive events in Barrhead and Clarkston are “hugely popular.”

“They provide the kind of added entertainment that gives town centres the edge over online shopping,” she added. “The events are an exciting way to remind people that our town centres are open for business and have a value that is much more than just pounds, shillings and pence.

“It is understandable that the organisers have to wait and see what the appropriate advice is but we hope the events will go ahead and act as a much-needed reminder to people of the value there is in having a vibrant and viable town centre.”