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Costa Rica cancels traditional year-end celebrations

Fiestas de Zapote 2018-19
(Photo by Ezequiel Becerra / AFP)

The Costa Rican capital announced on Monday the suspension of its traditional end-of-year celebrations, given the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The Municipality of San José canceled the festivities that traditionally close the year “in view of the directive issued by the Health Ministry, which indicates that mass concentration activities are suspended throughout this year 2020 due to the health emergency that the country is experiencing,” the city council said in a statement.

Such festivities include the tope (horse parade), a carnival through the center of the capital, and festejos populares, which include an amusement park and Costa Rican-style bullfights.

“We will see each other, God willing, in 2021-22,” organizers of Fiestas de Zapote shared on social media, adding that the cancellation was the “prudent and logical” decision.

The Municipality of San José had previously suspended the Festival de la Luz, a colorful parade of floats through the streets of San José that is traditionally held in mid-December.

“Obviously it hurts us, as it happened with the cancellation of the Festival de la Luz. However, we 100% will comply with the provisions of the Health Ministry, with the understanding that protecting the health of Costa Ricans at this time is essential,” said Johnny Araya, mayor of San José.

The municipality also postponed the traditional San José Marathon. Originally scheduled for November, it has now been rescheduled for May 2021.

As of Monday, Costa Rica has announced 19,402 cases of COVID-19 and 171 deaths. The Greater Metropolitan Area including and surrounding San José is the current epicenter, and is under an Orange Alert throughout August.

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