BERLIN (Reuters) -The annual Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival, will not take place for a second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic, the premier of the southern German state of Bavaria said on Monday.
The Oktoberfest attracts around 6 million visitors to Munich every year, with many travelling from abroad. Revellers sit at long communal tables to swig beer, eat sausages, pretzel or pork knuckle, and listen to oompah bands.
Bavarian premier Markus Soeder told journalists that it was necessary to cancel major events such as the Oktoberfest again this year because they required large financial commitments and the risk was too large given uncertainty over when the pandemic may ease up.
"Also, in classic beer halls measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing cannot be enforced," Soeder said.
Germany has vaccinated more than 28% of its population so far. With vaccinations picking up and infections falling, it hopes restrictions that were re-imposed in November and tightened further last week will be lifted soon.
This year's Oktoberfest was scheduled to take place from Sept. 18 to Oct. 3.
(Writing by Riham Alkousaa and Maria Sheahan; Editing by Caroline Copley and Giles Elgood)