Portugal: 16,000 attend Portuguese communist festival despite COVID spike

The annual Avante Festival opened its doors to at least 16,500 people on Friday, in the municipality of Seixal. The festival, organised by the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), has reportedly been known to draw up to 100,000 people in the past. Although there was an emphasis on attendees wearing masks, some can be seen not wearing masks, but chairs were set up in the fields to adhere to social distancing guidelines. One attendee disputed the seriousness of the pandemic, and suggested the virus is not as grave as being made out. «In the summer of 1969 occurred the biggest rock festival ever, Woodstock festival, that occurred in the middle of a pandemic. The world didn't stop and the world didn't end, and 350,000 Americans died, and so this pandemic isn't bigger or smaller than others,» he said without a mask. Another attendee, who was wearing a mask, said she felt safer at the festival, because measures to prevent the spread had been implemented. «The restrictions are being applied just like in any other public space that we have been in. Everyone is wearing a mask and disinfecting their hands, so I feel pretty safe here, more than in closed spaces like in the supermarket or in a public transportation, or at the beach. We feel that we have way less space at the beach than here,» she said. Portugal has recorded 59,943 coronavirus cases and 1,838 related deaths as of Saturday according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The three-day-music festival has occurred annually on the first weekend of September since 1976. It is named after the Portuguese Communist Party's official newspaper, and includes music, food and sporting events.

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