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Iconic hotel Copacabana Palace reopens in Rio

 

Agence France-Presse

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil   /  Fri, August 21, 2020  /  07:05 pm
Iconic hotel Copacabana Palace reopens in Rio

This file photo taken on July 2, 2014 shows a general view of Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Palace Hotel, an official FIFA hotel during the World Cup Brazil 2014. (AFP/Tasso Marcelo)

 The Copacabana Palace, an iconic luxury hotel on the Rio de Janeiro waterfront, reopened Thursday after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close for the first time in its 97-year history.

Four months after closing to all but two long-term residents -- musician Jorge Ben Jor and the hotel's own general manager, Andrea Natal -- the soaring art-deco building opened again for travelers and even locals looking to escape the daily grind of the coronavirus pandemic.

Precautions for the reopening include "social distancing in high-traffic areas, such as the pool and restaurants," the hotel's owners, the Belmond group, said in a statement.

The hotel is offering four packages, including a 30-hour stay, "perfect for anyone seeking rest and tranquility in the city."

Weekend prices for August in the hotel's online reservation system ranged from less than $300 to $1,653 a night.

A symbol of a city known for its breathtaking beauty, sultry nights and bossa nova beats, the Copacabana Palace has hosted the likes of Rita Hayworth, Brigitte Bardot, Mick Jagger, Princess Diana and Madonna.

Read also: Rio reopens Christ the Redeemer, other sites after virus closure

The reopening comes amid uncertainty over when and how Rio and Brazil -- the country hit second-hardest by COVID-19 after the United States -- will return to normal life.

The country has registered nearly 3.5 million infections and more than 111,000 deaths in the pandemic.

Rio has already announced it is seeking a new format for its traditional New Year's Eve party, which usually draws millions of revelers to Copacabana beach for a fireworks show.

The city's world-famous carnival, held in February, also risks being canceled.

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