Crowds will return to Madrid’s Las Ventas bullring for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic next month for a charity bullfight to raise money for matadors left jobless by COVID-19, officials said on Saturday.
Almost all of Spain’s bullrings, or plazas, have remained closed for the last year due to lockdown restrictions - plunging the controversial spectacle and its matadors into financial crisis.
A maximum of 6,000 people will be allowed in to watch the May 2 bullfight, Madrid’s regional government said. That is equivalent to 40 percent capacity as the arena, considered the world’s most important bullring by fans.
Face masks will be mandatory and strict social distancing measures will be in place at the event.
Major bullfighting festivals such as San Isidro, Sevilla’s April Fair, and Pamplona’s San Fermin in July were canceled last year, with bulls being sent from ranches straight to the slaughterhouse.
But even before lockdown bans brought bullfighting to a virtual standstill, the traditional emblem of Spanish culture had been struggling for survival in recent years.
Attitudes towards bullfighting differ among Spaniards with some considering it an essential part of the culture while others say it is a cruel spectacle.
A 2019 poll for El Español, an online newspaper, found 56.4 percent of Spaniards opposed bullfighting, while 24.7 percent supported it and 18.9 percent were indifferent.
In recent years, local governments have cut funding for fiestas, left-wing politicians oppose it, and a highly vocal anti-bullfight movement has grabbed headlines.
Madrid COVID-19 vaccination centers may shut down due to supply shortageA shortage of coronavirus shots may force the Madrid region to close down mass vaccination centers next week, the regional public health chief said on ... Coronavirus
Police interrogate Spain’s top Muslim official over funding of extremist groupsPolice briefly detained and questioned the top representative of Spain’s Muslim community as part of an investigation into the funding of extremist ... World News
Spain to lift UK entry restrictions on March 30Spain will on March 30 lift restrictions on arrivals from Britain that have been in place since December to prevent the spread of new coronavirus ... Coronavirus