The SARS-CoV-2-pandemic eventually made the cancellation inevitable.
138 days before the planned begin of Munich’s 187th Oktoberfest and a year after its initial postponement, Munich's mayor Dieter Reiter and Bavaria's prime minister Markus Söder announced the cancellation of all major volksfests, including the Oktoberfest for this year.
Both had a video conference with the mayors of the Bavarian cities that have large festivities and agreed on canceling the whole season for 2021. According to Söder, this mainly has three reasons:
1. The situation is too uncertain, also with respect to the financial obligations of promoters and showmen.
2. The festivals' brands could be damaged with toned-down festivities.
3. Restrictions like wearing masks or keeping a distance are hard to enforce in a volksfest environment.
Reiter, who initiated the conference, said it wouldn't have made sense to wait any longer as promoters and participants of the festivals would have had to sign contracts and activate personnel now.
He feels speculating on the success of the vaccination campaign is too uncertain, given that vaccine deliveries have been delayed multiple times in the past and it is yet unknown if a sufficiently large portion of the population is going to vaccinate.
The city of Munich is already planning a different, decentralized event for the summer after the great success of Sommer in der Stadt last year.
Last year's cancellation ended the longest series of continuously held Oktoberfests in its history. Since 1949, it was held 70 times in a row. The cancellation of 2021 is the 26th since the first Oktoberfest in 1810 and already the fourth due to an epidemic.
Munich will additionally miss an economic output of 1.2 billion euros.