Spanish crowds to return to the bullring next month in support of Covid-hit matadors

Madrid officials have announced a charity bullfight in the city, in a bid to raise cash for matadors financially hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

Spanish crowds to return to the bullring next month in support of Covid-hit matadors
Spanish matador Pablo Aguado performs a pass to a bull during a bullfight at El Puerto de Santa Maria's bullring. (Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP)

Onlookers are expected to return to Madrid’s Las Ventas bullring in May, for the first time since Spain was hit by the pandemic.

Nearly all of the country’s bullrings and squares have been closed during lockdown restrictions – a move which has both sent matadors into financial disaster and sparked relief from animal rights campaigners, who believe the practice is cruel and should be banned.

Las Ventas, one of the world’s most famous bullrings, will open its doors to a maximum of 4,000 spectators on May 2nd.

This means that the event will still observe distancing rules, as the crowd amounts to just 40% of the venue’s capacity. Other Covid-19 prevention measures, such as wearing face masks, will also be mandatory.

READ ALSO: Could coronavirus deal a fatal blow to Spain’s bullfighting tradition?

Major bullfighting events were cancelled in 2020, including Pamplona’s San Fermin festival in July. This saw many bulls being sent straight to the abattoir.

Spain’s tradition of bullfighting remains controversial – is it an inherent part of culture that contributes to the Spanish economy or animal cruelty?

An online poll by Ipsos MORI, for World Animal Protection, revealed that 19% of adults in Spain aged 16-65 said they supported bullfighting – while 58% opposed it.

The economically-hit profession of matadors forms part of a wider financial crisis in Spain. The government lowered its GDP forecast for 2021 in April, following continued lockdown restrictions putting a dent in the country’s economic recovery.

Member comments

  1. They could raise even more if they combined it with a bit of bear baiting and cock fighting. EU animal protection standards ?? UK dynamic alignment ??

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”