It’s official – through a joint press conference held on Tuesday morning, Munich mayor Dieter Reiter and Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder have announced the official cancellation of Oktoberfest 2020.
This year’s Oktoberfest was scheduled to take place from September 19 to October 4, 2020. As the world’s largest beer festival, it was expected to draw in over 6 million visitors as it did in 2019, with individuals attending from dozens of countries from around the world.
Söder described the cancellation as a shame, but a necessary precaution against the spread of COVID-19, given the impossibility of protective measures such as masks and social distancing at the event.
Besides being a prominent part of Munich’s social calendar, Oktoberfest is also one of the biggest earners of Munich’s tourism industry. The estimated economic value from 2019’s festival totalled 1.23 billion euros, according to Welt.
Altogether, this news is unsurprising given Germany’s recent ban on all large events until August 31, and Söder’s recent statements against the likelihood of the festival going forward. Still, both Söder and Reiter emphasized what a difficult decision it was, given the importance of the event to Munich, and the countless stakeholders involved.
You can watch the full press conference here (it begins at the 8:25 mark).