Germany is relaxing some lockdown measures, but the country is a long way from normal life. Today, authorities announced that the world renowned Oktoberfest celebration in Munich is cancelled this year, the first cancellation since World War II.
“We agreed that the risk is simply too great,” said Bavarian Premier Markus Söder while speaking alongside Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter at a presser. “We are living in different times and living with corona means living carefully.”
The 210-year-old festival draws about six million visitors and generates about €1bn ($1.09bn) revenue annually according to Reiter.
The Mayor lamented the cancellation’s effects on the local economy, specifically hotels, restaurants, bars, and livery. He called the decision “a bitter bill,” but stressed that he ultimately had no choice.
“But one can simply not take a decision other than this,” he stated. “This is an emotional and economically difficult moment.”
Oktoberfest chief Clemens Baumgärtner said that the cancellation saddened him, but it was the right move. He explained that Oktoberfest is tied to a specific set of dates and can not simply be postponed.
“The Wiesn is a total work of art that you either do completely or not at all – and this work of art cannot be moved backwards or made in a smaller form,” he declared.
Portions of Germany recently began relaxing measures, maintaining social distancing but reopening some shops and educational institutions. A nationwide ban on large events remains in place until the end of August.