Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder, on Tuesday, April 21, said “risks are too high” from the novel coronavirus while declaring that the world’s biggest beer festival, Oktoberfest 2020 stands cancelled. By Kumar Shree 

One of Germany’s iconic eventsOktoberfest–stands cancelled for 2020. While the news is heartbreaking for fest enthusiasts around the world, the decision is in everyone’s best interest. Markus Söder, while addressing the media said, until there is no vaccine, it would be too dangerous to have an event like this, even with masks and all social distancing measures in place. “Living with the coronavirus means living carefully,” he added.

 

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Apart from Oktoberfest, Germany has already banned several of its other major events until August 31. This decision is a part of the measures taken to contain the spread of the virus. The 210-year-old festival that goes back to 1810 attracts around six million enthusiasts from all over the world. Last year, the festival gathering chugged down 7.3 million litres of beer. Keeping that number in mind, it seems like a strict but much-needed decision. This is one of the few instances when the festival has been cancelled. Two such instances happened back in 1854 and 1873 when Octoberfest was cancelled because of cholera. Other than that, it was put on pause during hyperinflation in 1923 and during wartime. This is the first time that the festival has been cancelled since World War II.

 

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Experts have repeatedly claimed large-scale, close-contact social gatherings and events as major spreading ground for the virus. It is, therefore, necessary to keep these in check until the world is completely out of it.

Speaking alongside Söder, Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter said that the decision to cancel this event is, “a bitter pill to swallow. We hope that next year we can make it up together.

Related: 6 Unique Beers You Probably Didn’t Know Are Being Served At Oktoberfest