The event was scheduled to take place, as usual, on Munich's Theresienwiese fairground from September 19 to October 4, but organizers and government leaders have decided not to roll out the barrel due to the global health crisis.
In a markedly emotional announcement from the authorities concerned, Bavaria's Minister President Markus Söder said, "It hurts, it's such a pity. [But] we have agreed that the risk is simply too high."
Around six million visitors were expected to attend this year's celebration. They would have packed beer tents and narrow alleyways, increasing the risk of spreading infection among the lederhosen-clad multitudes.
The festival's lead organizer, Clemens Baumgärtner, called the cancellation a "decision that saddens us all," despite its necessity.
"It affects me, deeply and personally," Baumgärtner said in the statement. "A festival for millions, which stands for Munich, for the joy of life, for Bavaria, cannot take place."
He dismissed the idea of postponing Oktoberfest to a later date in the fall or winter, arguing that the event "is a total work of art that you either do completely or not at all—and this work of art cannot be moved backwards or made in a smaller form."
Officials did vow, however, that Oktoberfest will be back in 2021.
In the meantime, there's no law that says you can't throw on a dirndl and chug a giant stein of lager in your own living room.
Like Oktoberfest, Germany's once-in-a-decade passion play at Oberammergau will also not be staged this year. That event has been delayed to May 2022.