Germany has nixed plans to hold its annual Oktoberfest celebration months ahead of time over coronavirus concerns, marking one of the most well-in-advanced cancelations due to the pandemic.
The yearly festival, scheduled to be held from September 19 to October 4, was officially canceled Tuesday as Germany struggles to control the outbreak while simultaneously attempting to slowly reopen their economy.
“It’s about the biggest and most beautiful festival in the world, [but] we are living in different times,” Bavarian Minister-President Markus Soder said during a press conference. “And living with corona means living carefully. The greatest sensitivity applies to celebrations.”
The Washington Examiner reports the festival draws in more than 6 million visitors and typically pulls in around $1 billion for Germany.
Johns Hopkins reports there have been more than 147,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 4,800 deaths in Germany. But even as the threat of more outbreaks loom, the country has gradually begun easing up on some restrictions following a month of near-total shutdowns. Small stores of 8,600 square feet or less have been allowed to reopen, as well as car showrooms, bike shops and bookstores. While schools remain closed, students have been allowed to return to the classroom to take exams in person.