Christmas market axed in Munich amid German Covid surge

(CNN) — 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 had no choice but to cancel the popular event, which usually draws around three million people per year, as the country grapples with record infection rates. .

“It is bitter news I have today for all residents of Munich and especially for stall owners,” Reiter said in a statement.

“But the dramatic situation in our clinics and the exponentially rising infection figures leave me no other choice: Unfortunately, the Christmas market in Munich cannot 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, was due to run from November 22 to December 24, before reopening on December 27 and closing on January 9.

“Dramatic Situation”

The market usually attracts around 3 million visitors a year.

Amelie Geiger/picture alliance/dpa/Getty Images

Germany is recording more than 50,000 Covid-19 cases per day for the first time since the start of the pandemic, while the region of Bavaria has been particularly affected, with a seven-day incidence of 554.2 infections recorded for 100,000 inhabitants, according to the Robert Koch Institute.

“Nothing else [other than canceling] would be an unjustifiable increase in the risk of infection and would also send the wrong signal,” Reiter added.

“Especially for all the employees of our clinics, who are working to their limits. The task now is to avoid large gatherings of people as much as possible.”

Germany is famous for its traditional Christmas markets, with the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin and the festive fair in Stuttgart among its most famous, as well as the famous market in Munich.

About 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 depending on the date of the industry association of stall guards BSM.

With Munich being the first major German party market to be canceled this year, questions will no doubt be raised as to the likelihood of many more taking place.

It was confirmed earlier this month that the market at Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin would not take place, while the city of Dortmund canceled its Christmas lights ceremony.

Top Image Credit: Alamy

Sharon Braithwaite and Stephanie Halasz contributed to this story

James R. Rhodes