Arts & Entertainment

For some in Rio, Carnival must go on regardless of Covid-19

Rio de Janeiro, Mar 1 (EFE).- Though the official Carnival has been postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many residents of Brazil’s second-largest city took to the streets Tuesday for some pre-Lenten partying.

In Rio de Janeiro, the festival usually begins on the Friday before Ash Wednesday and runs for five days, culminating with the procession in the Sambadrome, where the city’s top samba schools vie for honors.

Thanks to coronavirus, which has claimed roughly 650,000 lives in Brazil, Carnival was canceled outright in 2021, causing tourism revenue in Rio to decline more than 45 percent from the previous year.

In 2020, more than 2.1 million tourists – around 25 percent of them from abroad – visited Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, spending 9.74 billion reais ($1.9 billion).

Around 300,000 people packed into the Sambadrome two years ago for the parades, but more than 7 million turned out for the rolling street parties that are the essence of Carnival for “Cariocas,” as Rio’s residents are known.

The municipal government originally planned for Carnival 2022 to run on the traditional schedule, from Feb. 25 through March 2, but the Omicron surge of Covid-19 prompted a postponement to April 21-24.

But in a nod to the many people who had already booked flights and hotel rooms in Rio before Carnival was put off, the Independent League of Samba Schools (LIESA) offered a “mini-parade” last Saturday night featuring performances by the 12 elite samba schools that make up the Special Group.

And at least one Carnival troupe of dancers and musicians mobilized on Tuesday to entertain revelers. EFE


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