The Rio de Janeiro city government announced on Saturday that the city's popular New Year’s Eve celebration will be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, the city government said that the event, which draws millions of people to the iconic Copacabana beach each year, "is not viable in the pandemic scenario, without the existence of a vaccine."
The statement said the city's tourism bureau will soon present alternative event proposals to Mayor Marcelo Crivella that are "without in-person attendance, in a virtual format" and that take into account "an atmosphere of reflection and hope in the face of so many losses."
The future of Rio de Janeiro's pre-Lenten Carnival samba performances and street parties, which normally take place in February, is still uncertain.
The city government's statement says that the local tourism bureau is awaiting an official position from the Independent League of Samba Schools, the body which represents the thousands-strong samba schools that compete in elaborate performances during Carnival. The statement said there is no official decision yet regarding whether block parties in the street will be canceled during Carnival.
To make decisions, we need an analysis of the whole situation, including the number of cases, the evolution of treatment for the disease, prevention measures, and the creation of a vaccine," the statement said.
Rio de Janeiro's announcement follows neighboring São Paulo’s decision to postpone its Carnival celebration to May or June next year, despite the fact that Carnival's date is pegged to the religious holiday of Easter and Lent.
Earlier in July, the city of São Paulo announced that its New Year celebrations would be canceled this year.