Street parades opt out of 2022 Carnival in São Paulo

carnival Street parade in São Paulo's city center, in March 2020. Photo: Rafael Dias Katayama/Shutterstock
Street parade in São Paulo’s city center, in March 2020. Photo: Rafael Dias Katayama/Shutterstock

Three groups representing 250 Carnival street parties published a statement claiming they will not be a part of this year’s celebrations, scheduled for the last week of February. They mentioned the surge of Omicron cases as the main reason, and criticized city officials for their lack of dialogue around how to approach Carnival amid a growing wave of new Covid infections. 

After canceling the traditional New Year’s Eve party on Paulista Avenue, the São Paulo city hall is considering a change to its Carnival street celebrations — transporting them all to the Interlagos race circuit, far to the south of the city. Street parade organizers, however, say this alternative would benefit sponsors but would not guarantee anyone’s safety.

This could be the second straight year without street Carnival in São Paulo, something that worries many cultural organizations and informal workers who rely on the seasonal income. As of today, dozens of cities have already canceled street festivals, including Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and at least 58 cities in São Paulo state.