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Munich to ban alcohol if COVID-19 cases rise

August 25, 2020

Munich will partially ban alcohol if coronavirus cases reach a certain threshold. The rule comes amid an uptick in infections in the city, often dubbed Germany's beer capital.

n this Sept. 19, 2015 file photo, people celebrate the opening of the 182nd Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, southern Germany, clinking many large beer mugs together.
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Schrader

The city of Munich will limit alcohol sales and ban late-night public consumption should coronavirus infection rates reach a certain threshold, authorities announced Tuesday.

If the number of confirmed infections per 100,000 residents rise above 35 over a seven-day period, alcohol sales would be prohibited after 9:00 p.m. and its consumption in public would be prohibited after 11:00 p.m..

Read more: Coronavirus: How one German state enforces mask-wearing

The Bavarian capital on Monday had reported 30.92 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over the last week.

Munich is known around the world as a haven for beer lovers. It hosts the annual Oktoberfest beer festival, which was called off this year due to coronavirus concerns.

"The decision was difficult for us all," said Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter, a Social Democrat. "But in times of a pandemic, it is first and foremost a matter of protecting the population and avoiding, as far as possible, even more burdensome measures."

Drinking in public spaces is legal in Germany and is common throughout the country during times of warmer weather. The practice has grown particularly popular during the coronavirus pandemic, and a number of parks and squares in central Munich have seen large crowds during the summer.

Read more: Coronavirus: Germany weighs curbs on parties as infections rise

Over the weekend, several neighborhoods in the northern city of Hamburg issued bans on alcohol sales, and the Bavarian city of Bamberg has implemented similar measures.

Trouble brewing in Bavaria's beer industry

dr/msh (dpa, AFP)