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Costa Rica cancels its biggest year-end parade due to pandemic

May 28, 2020

Costa Rica will not celebrate its traditional Festival de la Luz, a parade of colorful floats that tours the capital city, due to the health and financial crisis unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Municipality of San José announced.

The capital’s mayor, Johnny Araya, explained the Festival of Lights, which draws hundreds of thousands of spectators to San José in mid-December, will be suspended in the year that would have been its 25th anniversary.

“We were looking forward to the 25th anniversary of the festival, which we knew had to be a special edition. However, circumstances forced us to make this decision,” Araya said.

The principal reason to suspend the event is the health risk caused by the new coronavirus, the mayor said, although he admitted that the financial difficulties the municipality is facing also influenced the decision.

“The financial impact of the health crisis for the Municipality of San José is also weighing on us. Revenues have been and will be significantly reduced by the COVID-19 crisis,” Araya said.

The organization of the festival requires an investment of at least $250,000 from the municipality, not counting the participation of other institutions, such as the police and firefighters, which also have expenses.

The municipality’s main income stream is patents, and the economic contraction due to measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus has caused a fall of at least 20% in those funds, Araya said.

“The numbers are very complex to handle, and we are responsibly taking measures to cut expenses and guarantee the provision of public services that correspond to the Municipality of San José,” he said.

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