Man in port city goes to court over face mask rule

masks santos brazil
Photo: Natalya Chumak/Shutterstock

One week ago, the port city of Santos made the use of protective face masks mandatory in all public places. Those disobeying this rule can incur a fine of up to BRL 3,000 — or three times the minimum wage. One local man, however, is taking the municipal government to court for the right to come and go as he pleases, without using a mask. Controversially, he received a favorable injunction from a trial court judge.

In his decision, the judge wrote that the Mayor of Santos cannot pass decrees “to create, restrict, or remove personal rights.” Enforcing penalties would only be possible if the city had approved a formal law to make the use of masks mandatory.

Several experts consider the use of face masks as a highly effective way to prevent contamination — but the recommendation is by no means unanimous. The World Health Organization says healthy people “only need to wear a mask while taking care of a person with Covid-19.”