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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Health experts advise end of masks on public transport in Spain

Spanish health experts have advised the government that the use of masks should no longer be obligatory on public transport, but no concrete date has yet been set.

Health experts advise end of masks on public transport in Spain

Health experts who advise the Spanish Ministry of Health have said that masks should no longer be mandatory on public transport, but with the caveat that the government should first wait and observe the epidemiological situation in China, which has experienced a surge in case numbers since it abandoned its strict ‘Zero Covid’ strategy at the end of 2022, following widespread civil unrest.

The use of masks on public transport has now been the norm in Spain for almost three years, since the start of the pandemic. 

Speaking to Ser Canarias, Darias said: “We are getting closer and closer [to the end of having to wear a mask], but we will have to see how things evolve in order to make that decision; obviously the epidemiological situation is getting better and better, but we have to see how the issue of China evolves”. 

Reports in the Spanish press suggest some kind of agreement was made during a meeting between the government and the experts in December that masks would no longer be compulsory after assessing the situation in China, however, there is still no fixed date.

Back in October 2022, Spain’s ‘Emergency Unit’ suggested that mask rules would not be reviewed until March 2023 at the earliest, but more recently it said that it does not seem necessary to wait for March to remove the mask rule. 

According to recent Ministry of Health figures, just 2.79 percent of hospital beds in Spain are taken up by Covid-19 patients.

READ ALSO: Face masks to remain mandatory on public transport in Spain until March 2023

The use of masks indoors in Spain ceased to be mandatory on April 20th, 2022, after almost two years, however, they have remained mandatory in hospitals, pharmacies and, crucially, also on buses, metro, trains, planes and taxis.

While the mask rules have been strictly enforced in some places in Spain such as Seville and Valencia, in other cities such as Barcelona, many people refuse to wear them, despite the regulations still officially being in place. 

READ ALSO: Spain now requires Covid certificates for arrivals from China

In China, figures suggest that almost 60,000 people have died as a result of Covid-19 in a single month amid the spike in cases following the end of the country’s draconian restrictions. In response, Spain reintroduced health control checks for travellers arriving from China. 

It seems that Darias and the Spanish government are waiting to see how the situation plays out in China first, but all the indications and expert advice seems to suggest that masks will no longer be mandatory in public transport sometime very soon.