BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – In Buenos Aires on Friday night, the doors of the Colón Theater reopened for the first time in a year since they closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, a sign of how Argentina’s capital is shedding its hair. one time. again.
In neighboring Brazil, however, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have gone in the direction of the opposition, both announcing tighter restrictions this week, a reflection of how the two regional powers are on completely different paths fighting the virus.
“It makes me very happy, we have to go to the theater again, we have to lose our fear,” Fanny Mandelbaum, a local journalist from Argentina who attended the opening concert at the famous opera house, told Reuters. “It is very satisfying to be in a room and share culture with other people.”
The symbolic opening of the opera house, which dates back to 1857, albeit in a different building, comes on the heels of moviegoers in the capital able to return to theaters earlier this month.
Authorities have also eased restrictions that allow restaurants and bars to stay open later, with dining inside, bringing a stir for the city that saw one of the longest and most difficult closures in the region last year.
But in Brazil, the state of Sao Paulo imposed a partial lockdown this week, underscoring growing concerns about a surge in new infections. Meanwhile, Rio de Janeiro adopted new restrictions, including a night curfew.
“We have reached a grave moment in the pandemic. The variants of the coronavirus are hitting us aggressively, ”Brazil’s Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said on social media.
The divergence of urban night revelers in the region illustrates the different trajectories Argentina and Brazil are on in the race to tame COVID-19, even as vaccination programs are hit by delays.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has long sought to lessen the severity of the virus, while Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández has taken a tougher stance.
Claudio Méndez, manager in Argentina for the operator of the Cinepolis cinema chain, said that as the vaccines were rolled out, they expected theaters to return to normal after what had been an incredibly difficult year.
“It was an unimaginable situation even in the worst horror movie,” he said. “We believe that as the vaccination process progresses … movie premieres will begin to flow more normally.”
Back at the Teatro Colón, many musicians were still playing with their masks on, while the wind instrument musicians were inside transparent cubicles to prevent the possible spread of the virus. The temperature of the public was controlled and the seats were distributed.
“We needed to go back and today was the day,” said María Victoria Alcaraz, general director of the opera house. “The spirit was to reopen the doors as soon as possible so that the public and the artists could meet again.
Report by Lucila Sigal; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Diane Craft