Munich’s iconic Christmas market has been canceled for the second year in a row due to a significant rise in Covid-19 cases in Germany.
The “bitter news” was announced by the city’s mayor Dieter Reiter, who said he’d been left with no choice but to call off the popular event, which usually attracts around three million people annually, as the country grapples with record breaking infection rates.
“It is bitter news that I have today for all Munich residents and especially also for the stall owners,” Reiter said in a statement.
“But the dramatic situation in our clinics and the exponentially increasing infection figures leave me no other choice: The Munich Christmas Market can unfortunately not take place this year.”
Based on Marienplatz in the heart of the Bavarian capital, the traditional Christmas market, which dates back to the 14th century, had been scheduled to run from November 22 to December 24, before reopening on December 27 and closing on January 9.
Germany has been recording more than 50,000 Covid-19 cases a day for the first time since the start of the pandemic, while the Bavaria region has been particularly hard hit, with a seven-day incidence 554.2 recorded infections per 100,000 people, according to the Robert Koch Institute.
“Anything else [other than canceling] would be an unjustifiable increase in the risk of infection and would also send out the wrong signal,” added Reiter.
“Especially for all employees in our clinics, who are working at their limits. The task now is to avoid large gatherings of people as far as possible.”
Germany is famous for its traditional Christmas markets, with Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt, Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt and Stuttgart’s festive fair among its most famous, along with Munich’s renowned market.
Around 2,500 are typically held in the country each year, generating between €3 billion (about $3.4 billion) and €5 billion ($5.6 billion) in revenue according to date from the BSM stall keepers’ industry association.
While Munich is the first major German festive market to be called off this year, questions will no doubt be raised about the likelihood of many of the others going ahead.
It was confirmed earlier this month that Berlin’s Charlottenburg Palace market would not be taking place, while the city of Dortmund has canceled its Christmas lights ceremony.
Top image credit: Alamy
Sharon Braithwaite and Stephanie Halasz contributed to this story