Germany's Oktoberfest Cancelled Due To Coronavirus Pandemic
Bavarian officials have cancelled Oktoberfest due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The annual beer festival, which takes place in late September to October, has been running for more than 200 years and has not been cancelled since World War II.
Premier of Bavaria Markus Söder said the annual event would be too big a risk to public health.
He said: "Living with coronavirus means living carefully. As long as there is no vaccination, we need to be very sensible. We are in mutual agreement that the risk is quite simply too high ... compromises will not help."
He told journalists: "It hurts us. What a pity. This is not a normal year."
The festival was expected to see around six million visitors and was set to run from 9 September to 4 October.
The mayor of Munich, where the festival is held, said cancelling the festival was a 'bitter pill'.
Mayor Dieter Reiter said that although it would be a huge blow for the businesses that take part 'one can simply not take a decision other than this'.
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He added: "This is an emotional and economically difficult moment."
In a statement announcing the decision, organisers said next year's festival would be 'a particularly beautiful and intensive celebration together again'.
With Reiter adding: "We hope that next year we can make it up together!"
It had previously been suggested that a sort of 'mini Oktoberfest' could be organised, which would only be open to locals. However, this idea was not approved by city officials.
Germany has started to ease lockdown measures in certain areas of the country, but big events are banned until 31 August.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned the country that it is 'long way from being out of the woods' and urged people to be disciplined.
She said: "We have to stay vigilant and disciplined. It would be a shame if we went into a relapse with our eyes open."
Although some non-essential have now been reopened, German residents must still stay 1.5m part while out and about.
Merkle also warned that if country sees its covid-19 infection rate rise 'a new shutdown would be unavoidable'.
Featured Image Credit: PA