Brazil’s capital lifts mask mandates in open spaces

mask mandates brasília
Photo: Paulo H. Carvalho/Ag.BSB

Starting today, citizens in Brasília will no longer be required to use masks in open spaces — according to a gubernatorial decree from October 26. Mask use remains mandatory in closed public spaces. 

Local authorities have distributed over 2 million masks since the beginning of the pandemic. Between April 2020 — when mandates became effective — and September of this year, 148 citizens received fines for breaking mask rules, including one former Education Minister. Over 1,500 businesses were punished for not enforcing mask mandates.

A May report by the New York Times disclosed research data suggesting that the share of transmission that has occurred outdoors could be below 1 percent — and potentially below 0.1 percent.

Still, Brazilian epidemiologists believe that lifting safety measures with little to no tradeoff could fuel new spikes of transmission and deaths — especially among unvaccinated people.