Germany’s iconic Oktoberfest beer festival has been called off for the second year running due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mail reported on Monday.
Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder said on Monday after a meeting with city mayor Dieter Reiter that holding large public events in Bavaria, including the annual Oktoberfest in the regional capital Munich, will not be feasible this year.
“In the classic beer tents at the big festivals, social distancing, masks and other measures are practically impossible to implement,” Soeder said.
“The situation is too precarious,” he said, adding “Imagine there was a new wave and it then became a superspreader event. The brand would be damaged forever and we don’t want that”.
Reiter said the cancellation was “a great pity” for the millions of fans of the festival, with “existential consequences” for people’s livelihoods.
The event, which draws nearly 6 million visitors per year from late September to October, was called off in 2020 for the first time since World War II.
But the Oktoberfest has previously fallen victim to epidemics – cholera kept the beer tents empty in 1854 and 1873.