There’s speculation that the Oktoberfest might have to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The major event was scheduled to start September 19th but officials recently said that is highly unlikely that the world’s largest beer festival should happen this year.
The event generated up to 6 million participants every year to the city of Munich.
With the world taking to lock downs to prevent movement and or gathering of people it seems that, like the Olympics, the organisers might have no other choice.
In Bavaria’s capital, policymakers, breweries and many residents are resisting scientific calls to cancel the two-week festival. Dubbed locally as the ‘Wiesn,’
This is what Wiesn boss Clemens Baumgärtner, head of the department for work and economy, says.
“As the organizer of the Wiesn, together with all our partners, I would like to see that there is no need to cancel. Therefore, we want to monitor the situation until the last possible moment before an irreversible decision is made. That will be in June at the latest,” says Baumgärtner.
“That is why we are continuing to plan the Wiesn as usual. However, it is still too early for a binding assessment today.”
Baumgärtner continued, “Of course the decision will be made with the greatest possible responsibility. In the end, it will largely depend on what the medical experts advise and what health policy and safety regulations will be issued by the federal government and the Free State.”
Markus Söder told local public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk that he is very sceptical. And based on the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic he can hardly imagine that such a large event would even be possible at that time.
Söder added that he and the mayor of Munich will make a final decision in the next two weeks on whether to call it off.
“It would be a real shame” to cancel Oktoberfest, but the current situation makes it “highly unlikely” that it will go ahead, Söder said.
Oktoberfest vendors floated the idea of holding a mini Oktoberfest it being one that would only open for locals in the city of Munich and the surrounding region but the suggestion failed to gather backing with Munich city official who dismissed the idea.
Stephan Pilsinger, a Bundestag member for the conservative Christian Social Union who is a doctor in Munich, said cancellation was “inevitable” and urged the decision to be announced as soon as possible.
He pointed to the Austrian ski resort Ischgl, where tourists from all across Europe got infected during the skiing season and then brought the coronavirus to their home countries.
This year’s festivities are scheduled to start on September 19 and run until October 4