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Germany Officially Cancels The Yearly Oktoberfest Amid Fears of COVID-19

Susie Steck

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  • The German government officially decided that it will cancel the traditional Oktoberfest this year.
  • Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter said the risk of holding the event is too high.
  • The 210-year-old festivity will resume as soon as there are available vaccine and medication against COVID-19.

The German government has recently announced its decision to cancel the 210-year-old Oktoberfest, an annual German festivity where about 6 million Europeans and tourists from 50 countries come together to celebrate.

In a joint press conference, Bavarian Premier Markus Söder explained that since there is still no vaccine or medication available for coronavirus, the risk of holding the traditional Oktoberfest on September 19 up to early October this year is “too high.” Therefore, canceling the iconic celebration is the best solution to prevent another spike of coronavirus cases.

“We agreed that the risk is simply too great… It is painful for us. It is a great pity, but as with many things, this is not a normal year, and this is sadly going to be a year without the festival,” Söder said in a televised press conference.

He added that canceling the Oktoberfest is an “emotionally difficult” decision for the City of Munich, given the fact that Octoberfest has been held annually since 1810.

In his Twitter account, he further expressed further that it was a difficult decision for him and Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter to cancel the event.

“Difficult decision with Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter. The Oktoberfest 2020 must be canceled. The rish is just too high. You can neither keep your distance there nor wear a face mask. Living with Corona means living cautiously until there is a vaccine or medication,” Söder said, according to a Delish report.

The cancelation of Oktoberfest in host-city Munich may lead to big financial losses. Reiter said, it is projected that they will lose profits amounting between 1.2 and 1.3 billion euros for the 16-day festivity.

“This affects hotels, restaurants outside the Oktoberfest, but also cab drivers. Everyone will miss the Oktoberfest terribly, their wallets will too,” Reiter added.

In 2020, Oktoberfest is supposed to to start on September 19 and will end on October 3. During the event, thousands of barrels of the best German beer are served plus there are numerous other attractions such as amusement rides, sidestalls, games and a wide variety of traditional foods.

This year’s Oktoberfest cancellation is the first time since World War II.

In March, German authorities introduced social distancing measures as a precaution against coronavirus. Although they have since relaxed restrictions in some areas, large public gatherings remain banned until at least August 31.

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