Sao Paulo carnival canned over COVID-19
Sao Paulo, Latin America’s most populous city, has canceled its annual street carnival for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The cities of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador de Bahia have also scrapped their carnivals as infection rates soared after Christmas and New Year’s celebrations and with the arrival of the Omicron variant in hard-hit Brazil.
“The Sao Paulo street carnival is cancelled due to the epidemiological situation,” mayor Ricardo Nunes of the city of 12 million told reporters.
Like Rio, Sao Paulo hopes to maintain the colorful parade by samba troupes in its “Sambadrome” outdoor venue, though strict virus-control protocols would apply.
Unlike the street parades, access to the Sambadrome can be regulated, and officials are weighing whether to make proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test an entry requirement.
Many Brazilian cities host street carnivals, with musical bands and dancers gathering hundreds of thousands of revelers every year.
In 2020, carnival celebrations injected some $1.4 billion into the Brazilian economy, before the pandemic struck, according to government data.