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Germany’s Oktoberfest 2020 cancelled over COVID-19 risk

Germany’s Oktoberfest 2020 cancelled over COVID-19 risk

Oktoberfest beer festival, the largest world beer gathering, will be cancelled, confirmed Bavarian state premier Markus Söder said Tuesday. According to the new guidelines published last Wednesday, Germany said large-scale events “play a major role in the dynamics of infection”.

Germany authorities decided not to put at the risk the hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors due to coronavirus. In 2020, the “risks are too high” from the novel coronavirus, said Mr Söder. The point is not only the virus spreading but the absence of a vaccine, The Local Germany reports.

Oktoberfest also known as Wiesn event, takes place annually in late September, and was expected to draw two million foreign visitors, would be too dangerous “as long as there is no vaccine”, Bavarian state premier said.

Commenting on the decision of the Bavarian authorities, the official reiterated that ‘living with the coronavirus means living carefully’. Even with masks and social distancing, the risk would be too high, taking into account the scale of the event.

So far, Germany has banned major events until August 31st as part of measures to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

Oktoberfest will be cancelled for the fourth time

For Bavaria, Oktoberfest is a special event. In fact, around six million visitors in total attend the event in Munich every year. Wiesn, which dates back to 1810, had been scheduled to take place from September 19th until October 4th. However, there had been a question mark over Oktoberfest going ahead since it’s such a huge event.

Earlier, Oktoberfest has been cancelled before due to major outbreaks. Due to cholera, the festival was cancelled in 1854 and 1873. And during wartime, the beer festival did not go ahead. It was also put on pause during hyperinflation in 1923.

Bavaria’s economy will suffer significantly due to Oktoberfest’s cancellation

In 2018, the Bavarian economy generated more than €1.2 billion thanks to Oktoberfest. Before the cancellation, Söder had said he was sceptical about whether a festival of this size could take place during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We want to continue to protect Bavaria,” Söder said. 2020 is “a year, unfortunately, without Wiesn,” he added.

Experts have repeatedly said that close-contact social gatherings have contributed to the spread of coronavirus.

Large outbreaks, such as that in Heinsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, have stemmed from social gatherings. In this area, a carnival event is thought to have fuelled the spread of coronavirus in communities.

This ban on events, therefore, helps to contain the spread of the novel pathogen and at the same time provides some clarity for organizers and consumers.