Germany’s Oktoberfest unlikely to take place this year

People dressed in traditional clothes sit inside a beer tent after the Oktoberfest parade in Munich, Germany, September 22, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

BERLIN (Reuters) – The annual Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival, is unlikely to take place this year due to the coronavirus crisis, the premier of the southern German state of Bavaria said on Thursday.

The Oktoberfest attracts around six million visitors to Munich every year, with many traveling from abroad. Revelers sit together on long communal tables to swig beer, eat sausages, pretzel or pork knuckle, and listen to oompah bands.

Bavarian premier Markus Soeder told journalists he was very skeptical whether this year’s festival – scheduled from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4 – could take place and said he would make a final decision with Mayor Dieter Reiter in the next two weeks.

The German government and regional state governors agreed on Wednesday to start relaxing some of the lockdown rules introduced last month to stem the spread of the coronavirus, but said big events would stay banned until Aug. 31.

Reporting by Alexander Huebner; Writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Michelle Martin

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