Published on : Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Bavaria’s Minister President Markus Soeder and Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter recently announced in a press conference that Germany’s Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival hosted annually by Munich, will be cancelled for the second consecutive year due to the COVID pandemic. At their meeting, the two politicians agreed to recommend that large festivals should be cancelled in Bavaria this season due to rising cases of COVID-19 infections in order to main safety and to prevent further spread of the virus.
Soeder said that the Oktoberfest’s reputation was also at stake but with countless restrictions in place, there would be a danger of mass gathering and chaotic conditions as measures such as social distancing and usage of face masks were practically not feasible in classic beer tents at big festivals. Mayor Reiter added that the decision was supposed to be made with immediate effect as the festival’s suppliers would now have to enter into contracts and hire staff, and it would not have made sense to wait and to postpone a decision any longer.
Munich celebrated its first Oktoberfest in 1810 and the festival has been cancelled more than two dozen times in its history. Reasons were, among others, the war with Napoleon, the First and Second World Wars, as well as a cholera outbreak in the middle of the 19th century. When the grand festival was already cancelled last year due to the pandemic, it was the first cancelation in the past 70 years. According to the organizers’ estimates, around 6.3 million visitors from all over the world visited the Oktoberfest in 2019.