Corona what? China’s biggest beer bash is still happening despite the pandemic

Aug 05, 2020

The Qingdao Beer Festival is billed as ‘Asia’s Oktoberfest’ and takes place in the home of Tsingtao beer.

Hold my beer, coronavirus.

Germany’s Oktoberfest might be canceled this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao is going ahead with its three-week beer bash.

The festival drew more than seven million visitors last year, with people flocking to the city famous for its namesake Tsingtao beer.

This year, though, visitors will have to present certification showing they are virus-free, wear a mask, and observe social distancing rules.

In addition, the festival, which is running from July 31 to August 23, is operating at half capacity.

But footage on the event’s social media account and released by state broadcaster CCTV showed unmasked visitors close together on the opening day on Friday.

Revelers drink at the Qingdao Beer Festival in China on Saturday.
Revelers drink at the Qingdao Beer Festival in China on Saturday. / Photo: AFP

The World Health Organization has warned against holding mass gatherings, saying they could increase virus transmission.

The festival features more than 1,500 types of beer and includes other cultural events such as live music and games.

(Read more: Tsingtao beer’s secret ingredient: Rice)

CCTV said the event gave visitors a chance to get “back on track of normal life.”

Adapted from an article first published in the South China Morning Post.