Three states follow Bolsonaro’s lead, lift commerce restrictions

Three states follow Bolsonaro's lead, lift commerce restrictions

The Brazilian federal government continues to champion a hands-off approach to the coronavirus crisis, publishing promotional material using the slogan “Brazil Cannot Stop.” Against what experts from around the world have warned, the Jair Bolsonaro administration wants people to get back to their normal life — as “autonomous workers can’t wait.” Watch the video below, in Portuguese:

“It’s not my responsibility if companies are shutting down,” he said on Friday morning, suggesting that mayors and governors who ordered lockdown measures should pay for employment charges.

Late on Thursday, three state governors backpedaled and moved in favor of following Mr. Bolsonaro’s pleas, partially reopening commerce and public transport.

  • Mato Grosso. Conservative Governor Mauro Mendes issued a decree allowing bars and cafés to reopen, as well as allowing public transportation to operate — with seated passengers only. Bank branches, lottery houses, churches, and temples also got the green light. The mayor of state capital Cuiabá criticized the move, saying he won’t relax any restrictions under municipal law.
  • Santa Catarina. Governor Carlos Moisés, of Mr. Bolsonaro’s former Social Liberal Party announced a plan to gradually lift all restrictions. He greenlit infrastructure projects, roadway reforms, and activities essential to provide inputs. The state is gradually opening up businesses, including gyms, bars, restaurants, and commerce as of April 1. Establishments must limit entry to 50 percent of the venue’s capacity, and respecting a 1.5-meter distance between people.
  • Rondônia. Governor Marcos Rocha, also from the Social Liberal Party, signed a decree on Wednesday night authorizing the partial operation of commercial establishments. “Productive sectors can’t stop,” he said. The new measures were announced on the same day that the state reported its first Covid-19 death.