World News – CA – Coronavirus forces Rio de Janeiro to delay carnival for first time in 108 years


Rio de Janeiro delayed its annual carnival parade, claiming on Thursday evening that the world spectacle could not take place in February due to Brazil’s continued vulnerability to the coronavirus pandemic

The Rio Samba Schools League, LIESA, has announced that the spread of the coronavirus has made it impossible to safely hold traditional parades which are a cultural mainstay and, for many, a source of income

« Carnival is a party that many humble workers depend on. Samba schools are community institutions and parades are just one detail of it all, » said Luiz Antonio Simas, Rio Carnival historian , in an interview « A whole cultural and productive chain has been disrupted by COVID »

Rio City Hall has yet to announce a decision regarding the carnival street parties that are also taking place in the city, but its tourism promotion agency said in a statement to The Associated Press on September 17 that without a coronavirus vaccine, it is uncertain when major public events can resume

Brazil’s first confirmed case of coronavirus dates back to February 26, a day after this year’s carnival ended As the number of infections increased, samba schools participating in the glitzy annual parade have halted preparations for The 2021 event Thursday’s announcement dispelled the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the city – one of the most affected by the pandemic in Brazil

Almost all of Rio’s samba schools are closely linked to working-class communities Their processions include elaborate floats accompanied by tireless drummers and costumed dancers who sing at the top of their lungs to impress a jury Tens of thousands of spectators pack the stands at the arena, known as the Sambadrome, while tens of millions watch TV

Before schools started competing in the 1930s, carnival was celebrated in dance halls and haphazardly on the streets, said Simas The parades entered the Sambadrome in the 1980s and became the Rio carnival show par excellence

The immense work required for each show was already hampered by restrictions on gatherings imposed by the governor of Rio in March.Even with these measures, the metropolitan region of Rio, which has 13 million people, has up to now recorded more than 15,000 deaths from COVID-19

Under the bleachers of the Sambadrome, the city has created a homeless shelter for the vulnerable population during the pandemic

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Samba schools have suspended float building, costume sewing, dance rehearsals and also social projects The Mangueira school program in the favela near downtown Rio, which teaches music to children – keeps them away from crime and cultivates future school drummers – hasn’t taught since March

The pulse of entire cities in the suburbs of Rio like Nilopolis, whose population of 160,000 applaud the Beija-Flor samba school, has faded, Simas said

Some artists resorted to odd jobs and concerts Diogo Jesus, the principal dancer referred to as « master of ceremonies » at the Mocidade school, could not make rent without his income from private events. started driving for Uber and sewing masks to sell at a fair

« It was a big blow We live carnival all year round, and a lot of people when they realized it would all stop, ended up getting sick or depressed, » Jesus said in an interview with the ‘inside his house in Madureira, a district in the north of Rio « Carnival is our life »

Last year, the Rio carnival was suspended in 1912, following the death of the minister of foreign relations The mayor of Rio, then capital of Brazil, postponed by two months all licenses for the festivals of carnival of popular dance associations, according to Luis Claudio Villafane, diplomat and author of the book “The day they delayed the carnival” The mayor also expressed his opposition to unregulated celebrations, but many residents of Rio still made the party in the streets

The revelers were not deterred during WWII And they poured into the streets every year during more than two decades of military dictatorship, until 1985, with government censors examining costumes, tanks and song lyrics

« We have to wait for the next few months to find out whether there will be a vaccine or not, and when there will be vaccination, » LIESA president Jorge Castanheira told reporters in Rio on Thursday. « We do not have the security conditions to fix a date »

The 2020 coronavirus has already forced Rio City Hall to abandon traditional plans for its second biggest party, New Years Eve, which draws millions to Copacabana Beach for dazzling fireworks More earlier this month, the city’s tourism promotion agency Riotur announced that major tourist sites would instead display light and music shows to be broadcast on the internet

Postponement of carnival parade will deprive Rio state of much needed tourism revenue In 2020, Carnival attracted 21 million visitors and generated 4 billion reais ($ 725 million) in economic activity, according to Riotur from the agency on Thursday did not provide any further details on the fate of the Carnival street parties

Some parties are small – for example, one that features a few dozen dog owners displaying their pets wearing funny wigs or hats But most feature amps playing music to crowds of thousands of people. people dancing, kissing and drinking alcohol in party crush Biggest has over two million revelers

Rita Fernandes, president of Os Blocos da Sebastiana, said her association has already canceled its 11 street parties which together attracted 15 million revelers Most other groups will follow, she says

« We cannot be irresponsible and bring multitudes to the streets, » she said, highlighting Europe’s second wave of contagion

After several weeks of declining daily infections, authorities in Rio have started to express concern at a rise Public spaces such as beaches have been crowded in violation of pandemic restrictions

A drummer from the Mangueira samba school, Laudo Braz Neto, said the children he educated before the pandemic were listless and that he knew there was no way to make the carnival without being able to assemble in complete safety

« Carnival will only really take place when the whole world can travel It’s a spectacle that the world is watching, which brings income and movement here, » he said « I have no hope for 2021 « 

Coronavirus, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro carnival

News from around the world – CA – Coronavirus forces Rio de Janeiro to postpone carnival for the first time in 108 years


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