Oktoberfest is canceled

Oktoberfest 2018 | Photo by foottoo
Oktoberfest 2018 | Photo by foottoo

Oktoberfest is canceled

by Amanda Palumbo
Stars & Stripes Europe

It was a decision Europe and much of the world was waiting for: would Germany cancel the world’s largest beer festival? Bavarian leaders made the decision today to cancel the 187th year of Oktoberfest.

Bavaria’s Minister-President Markus Söder and Munich's Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter released a joint statement saying the risk was simply too high. "It is about the biggest and most beautiful festival in the world", said Söder. "We are living in different times. And living with Corona means living carefully. The greatest sensitivity applies to celebrations."

The decision is not at all surprising, given one of Germany’s major COVID-19 clusters resulted from carnival celebrations in North Rhine-Westphalia’s Heisenberg district. Other clusters stemmed from sporting events, parties and other large gatherings. Where there is a mass of people, COVID-19 infections will follow.

The Bavarian economy will no doubt take a major hit, as the festival brings in 6-7 million visitors who not only attend Oktoberfest but stay in the area’s hotels, visit shops and dine at restaurants and cafes. It generates well over 1 billion in revenue every year.

All other major events and festivals in Germany have been canceled through August 31.

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