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Events and festivals that are happening despite the coronavirus

June 26, 2020
6 min read
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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has upended nearly every element of human life this year, from jobs to travel, sporting events to concerts and just about any activity that involves people standing near each other.

As governments continue to revise their social distancing guidelines in response to real time case numbers, many of the most famous events around the world have been canceled this year. The won't be a Wimbledon champion this year for the first time since World War II, Oktoberfest has been canceled and Burning Man will be held virtually, to name a few.

Still, there are parts of the world where the pandemic is being better managed, or where event organizers think they can keep event attendees safe with appropriate productions. People around the world are desperate to return to some sense of normalcy. Here are some of the most popular events around the world that will be proceeding this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Kentucky Derby

(Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby has already been postponed from May to September 4-5, but officials at historic Churchill Downs recently got some good news. While the races won't have their usual crowds of 150,000+, spectators will be allowed to watch with social distancing measures in place.

Related: Bucket list trip to the Kentucky Derby

Admission will be capped for general admission, outdoor reserved seating, premium dining and suites, and guests will be encouraged to wear masks, wash their hands frequently, and practice social distancing whenever possible. The infield at Churchill Downs has 26 acres of space, and another 1.6 million square feet of covered space on the front side of the track, providing plenty of room for guests to spread out and maintain their distance.

Related: Experiencing the Kentucky Derby with American Express

Paris Fashion Week

(Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis/Getty Images)

With many members of the European Union slowly relaxing lockdown restrictions, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode announced this week that the Paris Fashion Week will still be happening this year, with shows starting September 28th.

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Related: Things to do on your first trip to Paris

It remains to be seen what types of crowd control measures will be put in place and whether or not all the shows will feature live audiences, but a number of the most well-known fashion houses have already begun rethinking their advertising approach as the pandemic stretches on. Gucci announced earlier this year that it would be abandoning the traditional seasonal calendar of fashion shows and staging only two shows a year (down from five), and Burberry and Dior have both announced plans to host virtual shows with no live audience.

Related: Mandarin Oriental Paris hotel review

The Hajj

The Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia is one of the largest gatherings of people in the world, attracting some 2.5 million pilgrims each year. The mass migration is so large that many airlines in predominantly Muslim countries operate designated Hajj charter flights during July and August to meet the massive demand. Unfortunately, the pilgrimage for the most part will be canceled.

Saudi Arabia's Hajj Minister Muhammad Benten said that this year, the number will be strictly capped in the low thousands to ensure proper hygiene and social distancing can be adhered to: “The number, God willing, may be in the thousands. We are in the process of reviewing so it could be 1,000 or less, or a little more.” While the decision is hardly a surprise given the unusual circumstances, it will effectively prevent Muslims living outside of Saudi Arabia from making the sacred pilgrimage this year.

harbin Ice Festival

The Harbin Ice Lantern Show. (Photo via Shutterstock)

For many westerners, one of the most shocking things about visiting China for the first time is the sheer scale of the country. Few events embody this more than the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, held every winter in the northeastern city of Harbin, just over 100 miles from the Russian border. Over 220,000 cubic meters of snow and ice are used to construct the festival, which draws some 18 million visitors and generates about $4.5 billion in revenue.

Related: Visiting the Harbin Festival

While China's early handling of the coronavirus raises serious questions about the capability and autonomy of the country's health infrastructure, China's decisive actions have all but stamped out the virus, with most major cities returning to normal life with schools and offices reopened. A recent resurgence of the virus in Beijing, that infected at least 260 people so far, raises the possibility of further travel restrictions within China but as of now, the Harbin Ice Festival is still scheduled to begin on January 5th, 2021.

Further Reading: Here’s what life is like in Shanghai during the coronavirus outbreak

Bottom line

It's entirely possible that many of these events will backtrack or change their policies as the situation on the ground continues to evolve. You might want to wait to make travel plans until the last possible moment, to avoid having to go through the long process of canceling and refunding. Hopefully social distancing and other public health interventions will continue to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and more events will be able to proceed as scheduled later this year and early into next.

Related: How Disney theme parks will be different when they reopen

For more information on the coronavirus outbreak, see:

Featured image by Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023