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Rio de Janeiro could reopen schools and commerce on June 1

. May 23, 2020
Rio de Janeiro could reopen schools and commerce on June 1 Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella. Photo: Secom-RJ

While the state of Rio de Janeiro might be in the midst of a major crisis — the public healthcare infrastructure is nearing collapse with 33,589 recorded Covid-19 cases and 3,657 deaths — the city of Rio de Janeiro is gearing up to reopen as early as June. Mayor Marcelo Crivella received multiple proposals for the reopening of commerce from various stakeholders this week, reports newspaper O Globo

Several plans are under consideration and will be discussed at a meeting with public healthcare experts. They include a proposal by the association of Rio hotels calling for the phased reopening of the city — with capacity limits on bars, restaurants, museums, public transport, and commerce.

While nothing is official yet, the talk is of reopening of schools (with the mandatory use of masks) on June 1, between 10 am and 5 pm. Stores under 400 square meters would be open from 10 am, while restaurants and bars would be allowed to operate at a 50-percent capacity until 11 pm. From June 8, religious ceremonies could take place, and football games would kick off again (without crowds). From June 15 on, larger stores and shopping malls would be allowed to reopen, along with daycare centers and preschools. On June 29, cinemas, theatres, and concert halls with limited capacity could operate.

The plan proposes the mandatory confinement of patients, persons with pre-existing conditions, and the elderly. Public venues would screen people at entrances, and masks would be mandatory. 

Rio de Janeiro state has the second-highest number of cases and deaths in the country after São Paulo. The state is also reeling from a corruption scandal involving Health Secretary Edmar Santos, sacked after an embezzlement scheme involving the fraudulent purchase of ventilators was uncovered.

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Benjamin Fogel

Benjamin Fogel is a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American History at New York University and a Contributing Editor to Jacobin Magazine.

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