São Paulo’s countryside to take a different approach to economic reopening than the governor

campos do jordao countryside
Campos do Jordão

After São Paulo Governor João Dória announced that he plans to start slowly reopening the state economy on May 11, some cities in the countryside are set to take a different approach.

The state government is planning a “gradual and controlled” statewide economic opening, which will be accompanied by an increase in testing and the constant monitoring of the state’s healthcare system capacity. Countryside cities, however, are drafting their own contingency plans.

In Ribeirão Preto, where the lethality rate is at 2.4 percent — less than one-third of the state average — Mayor Duarte Nogueira is expected to announce on Monday a reopening plan that is significantly broader than Mr. Dória’s, while still keeping some non-essential services closed. In São José dos Campos, where only 11 percent of hospital beds are in use, Mayor Felicio Ramuth has threatened to go to the Supreme Court for the right to lift restrictions.

The port city of Santos is also set to adopt a different approach. With over 400 confirmed cases and with an occupancy rate of hospital beds of around 40 percent, the local government is waiting for the results of scientific studies to implement its own reopening plan. 

Home to around 45 million people and with the country’s largest state economy, São Paulo state also leads the country in Covid-19 cases. As of Friday, São Paulo had over 17,800 confirmed cases and 1512 deaths. The lethality rate was at 8.5 percent — above the national average of 6.9 percent.