Germany’s Oktoberfest is canceled for the first time since World War II

Virus Outbreak Germany Oktoberfest
AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

Germany’s 2020 Oktoberfest is the latest large-scale event to be canceled as the coronavirus sweeps the globe.

Despite still being months out — the Oktoberfest celebration wasn’t scheduled to take place until Sept. 19 to Oct. 4 in Munich — officials decided to cancel this year’s event because it would be too dangerous from a public health stance to allow 6 million visitors from around the world to gather in crowded beer tents and streets.

Plus, precautionary measures amid the pandemic, such as wearing masks, aren’t conducive to sampling beer.

The decision to cancel Oktoberfest marks the first time since World War II that the iconic beer and folk celebration has been canceled.

Virus Outbreak Germany Oktoberfest
AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

Oktoberfest is just the latest public gathering to be called off amid the COVID-19 pandemic and it joins a growing list of worldwide cancelations or postponements that includes sports gatherings, concerts and festivals.

The International Olympic Committee announced the games that were scheduled to begin in July in Tokyo will be rescheduled “beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021.”

Here, in the United States, the Kentucky Derby has been pushed from May 2 to Sept. 5, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has been canceled altogether and the Rolling Stones’ North America tour that was to kick off in May has been postponed.

In addition to widespread cancelations of events and concerts, the pause button has been hit on everything from Broadway shows to live sporting events.

Olympics Tokyo Postponement Costs
AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

But the cancelation of Oktoberfest is especially notable as it signals that cancelations of large-scale global events are likely to stretch beyond spring and summer. Leaders in Germany decided that it would simply be too risky to hold such a massive gathering when there is no vaccine available.

The festival is a highlight of the year for many people, according to Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter. “Not to let it happen is a bitter pill to swallow,” he said in a news release.

In the press conference, though, Reiter said he looked forward to the return of Oktoberfest in 2021.

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About the Author
Brittany Anas
Hi, I'm Brittany Anas (pronounced like the spice, anise ... see, that wasn't too embarrassing to say, now was it?) My professional writing career started when I was in elementary school and my grandma paid me $1 for each story I wrote for her. I'm a former newspaper reporter, with more than a decade of experience Hula-hooping at planning meetings and covering just about every beat from higher-education to crime to science for the Boulder Daily Camera and The Denver Post. Now, I'm a freelance writer, specializing in travel, health, food and adventure.

I've contributed to publications including Men's Journal, Forbes, Women's Health, American Way, TripSavvy, Eat This, Not That!, Apartment Therapy, Denver Life Magazine, 5280, Livability, The Denver Post, Simplemost, USA Today Travel Tips, Make it Better, AAA publications, Reader's Digest, Discover Life and more. Visit Scripps News to see more of Brittany's work.

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