Governors across Brazil to defy Bolsonaro’s gym decree

Governors across Brazil to defy Bolsonaro's gym decree
Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Over a dozen of Brazil’s state governors plan to rebel against President Jair Bolsonaro’s decree that gyms, hair salons, and barbershops be classed as “essential services.” The presidential order, issued on Monday night, establishes that these businesses would be allowed to remain open even under strict social isolation measures. State governors — who have opposed Mr. Bolsonaro’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis — have said they will not obey the order from Brasilia.

In Rio de Janeiro, Governor Wilson Witzel said the move was “irresponsible,” and it seemed as if Mr. Bolsonaro “is heading toward the precipice, and wants to take all of us with him.” 

Maranhão Governor Flávio Dino accused the president of “trampling” the Constitution. “[Mr.] Bolsonaro insists on creating trouble. He fights with everyone, the only one he doesn’t fight is the coronavirus.” 

In response to this insurrection from state governors, President Bolsonaro said that their challenges to his decree “gives rise to undesirable authoritarianism in Brazil.”Monday’s decree — which we explained in-depth in today’s Daily Briefing — took many by surprise, including Health Minister Nelson Teich, who was informed about the measure during a press conference.