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Opera canceled in Spain after spectators protest lack of social distancing

Global community faces threats of surge in COVID-19 cases
Global community faces threats of surge in CO... 02:21

Spain's main opera house has come under fire after a show had to be canceled amid loud protests from spectators complaining about the lack of social distancing in upper-circle seats. Videos shared online by several attendees to Sunday's performance of Giuseppe Verdi's "Un ballo in maschera" at the Royal Theatre in Madrid showed some full rows in the highest and cheapest audience platform, while attendance at the pricier floor area had been reduced leaving empty seats.

The performance was canceled after several rounds of applause and shouting during the performance and despite the theater relocating some spectators and offering to return the value of their tickets, the Royal Theatre said in a statement.

The theater, which has launched an investigation into the incident, said that attendance had been reduced to 905 seats, or 51.5% of the total, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Current rules in Madrid limit cultural performances to 75% of the audience.

Verdi's 'Masked Ball' in Madrid cancelled after jeers over distancing
Spectators attend an opera performance which was called off after complaints over lack of social distancing, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus at Royal Theatre in Madrid, Spain, on September 20, 2020, in this picture obtained from social media. SOCIAL MEDIA via Reuters

The incident comes as a debate is raging in Spain over inequality after the Madrid regional government placed under partial lockdown some poor, working-class neighborhoods with some of the worst virus spread indicators. The measures have been met with protests because some people consider that authorities are stigmatizing the poor.

The measures, including a requirement to justify trips out of the neighborhoods and reduced occupancy in shops and restaurants, affect some 860,000 residents and have been met with protests because many of those affected and some experts consider that authorities are stigmatizing the poor.

CBS News' Roxana Saberi reports that Spain is struggling with a second wave of coronavirus cases. In certain areas of Madrid, new restrictions were taking effect on Monday. Around 860,000 people will no longer be allowed to leave their neighborhoods except for work, study, or medical reasons.  

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, a Socialist, met on Monday with Isabel Díaz Ayuso, of the conservative opposition Popular Party, agreeing for central and regional officials to hold bi-weekly technical and weekly political meetings to coordinate a stronger response to the outbreaks.

A few dozen protesters clad in Spanish flags called for Sánchez to step down outside of the Madrid government's meeting place.

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