Post-lockdown ‘new normalcy’ places bullfights on hold

A bullfighter at the San Fermín festival in Pamplona. Photo: Reuters / Susana Vera via Público
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As Spain prepares to return to a “new normality” when the country’s COVID-19 lockdown is lifted later this month, continued restrictions on public gatherings are likely to seriously undermine efforts by Spain’s bullfighting lobby to revive the country’s national blood sport.

Already on the wane, bullfighting events in Spain have fallen by 61 percent since 2007, according to Spain’s Association of Veterinary Abolitionists for Bullfighting and Animal Abuse (AVATMA). And even before the coronavirus outbreak, data published this week by the Ministry of Culture shows that the number of bullfights held across Spain in 2019 had fallen by 6.3 percent, with a total of 1,425 held last year, 96 fewer than the 1,521 bullfights staged throughout Spain in 2018.

During the first phases of Spain’s coronavirus lockdown, attendance at bullfights was prohibited altogether. In the second phase of the lockdown’s de-escalation, bullfighting was theoretically allowed, but attendance was restricted to 400 aficionados in the stands, eased further to 800 attendees during phase 3 of the de-escalation.

► News Sources: El Mundo, El Norte de Castillo and Público …

But in bullfighting stadiums designed to hold thousands of spectators, industry spokespersons say those limits have made bullfights economically nonviable.

When Spain transitions later this month to the “new normality”, restrictions on mass public gatherings have caused towns and cities across Spain to cancel their annual fiestas celebrating their patron saints, which usually last from several days up to two weeks and involve a series of daily bullfights.

With patron saints’ festivals cancelled across the country, bullfighting promoters say it would make no sense to stage bullfights, dealing a further blow to the already languishing industry. So far, the only major bullfight announced for this summer season has been set the 1st of August in the Osuna bullring in Sevilla, which seats a total of 5,500 spectators when at full capacity.

► Read more in English at: The Guardian and Euronews …

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