April 22, 2020
The world-famous 210 year old Bavarian beer festival has been cancelled this year due to concerns over the continued spread of coronavirus.
It is the biggest annual tourist attraction in Germany, drawing 6 million global visitors a year, and employing some 13,000 staff.
While some lockdown restrictions have been slightly relaxed in parts of the country this week, German authorities have banned all large events until at least August 31 in a bid to avoid a second wave of infections towards the end of the summer. Due to the nature of the event – festival goers are seated in very close proximity and the consumption of alcohol is thought to cause diminished regard for social distancing — the organisers had already indicated that the event might not go ahead.
Bavarian officials, have expressed regret that the businesses who take part in the festivities will lose out financially. It is reported that last year’s revenue amounted to around 1 billion euros.
The Oktoberfest started in 1810 on 12 October, as a celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, and was due to take place from 19 September to 4 October this year.
Meanwhile, in the UK, Home Sercretary Michael Gove has warned that the hospitality industry, most notably pubs and bars, will be of the last to see restrictions lifted levaing some businesses attempting to prepare for closures lasting until Christmas.
In the USA, of the states where lockdown rules are being relaxed, bars, nightclubs and restaurants will also be among the last businesses to see restrictions lifted.
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Main image: Munich, Germany. Oktoberfest, Polybert49, Flickr Creative Commons