Covid Carnaval update: They’re partying like there’s no tomorrow in Montañita and Salinas; Bars could reopen in Cuenca but not in time for the holidays

Feb 16, 2021 | 26 comments

Hundreds of young partygoers gathered Sunday night in the streets and on the beaches of Montañita, repeating a scene that had also played out Friday and Saturday nights. With drinks in hand, Carnaval celebrants threw cups of water and sprayed foam on each other. Outdoor speakers roared with reggaetone and rock and roll as dancers formed conga lines in several locations.

They’re partying like there’s no tomorrow in Montañita.

On the outside wall of one downtown bar, someone had hung a large sign reading, in English, “Party like there’s no tomorrow.”

There were similar scenes on the malecón in Salinas despite police efforts to break it up. “We do what we can but there are too many of them and they just go to another place when we move in,” a member of the national police told a television reporter. “None of them are wearing masks and they’re all drinking. Of course there is no social distancing.”

Despite hundreds of 911 complaint calls, the parties were widespread in several beach towns over the long holiday weekend. “We’re tired of all the rules and want to enjoy life again,” one woman said. “Look at the youth protests in Europe. Young people all over the world are tired of the bullshit and we’re taking back the streets, ready to have fun.”

Another celebrant added: “The virus is a disease for old people. Let them stay in their closets. For the rest of us, it’s time to celebrate.”

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Cuenca developing plan to reopen bars and discos but not for Carnaval
Following a Friday meeting with bar and disco owners at the mayor’s office, city officials announced they are working on plans to allow a “modified reopening” of drinking establishments.They said, however, that there would be no reopenings during the 4-day Carnaval weekend.

Mariana Delgado, representative of the Cuenca Bars and Clubs Association, said the plan requires bars and night clubs to provide limited food service and operate as soda bars with limited sales of alcoholic beverages. “Our members will be required to serve fast foods, such as sell salchipapas, sandwiches, hamburgers and wings – food that can be prepared in microwaves –with a prohibition on excessive alcohol consumption, which will be monitored by the authorities.”

Although Delgado said bar owners were hoping to open with fewer restrictions, she said most association members can work within the rules. “Most of us have been closed for a year and many of our members have shut their businesses permanently. We will take what we can get.”

A date for the reopenings is yet to be determined.

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