São Paulo reaches penultimate phase of Covid-19 reopening

In a press conference on Friday afternoon, São Paulo Governor João Doria announced that six of the state’s regions — including the city of São Paulo — will now enter the so-called “Green Phase” of the local Covid-19 reopening plan.

In practical terms, this means that Greater São Paulo, Campinas, Baixada Santista, Piracicaba, Sorocaba, and Taubaté will all face looser restrictions on non-essential activities, with activities such as cinemas and theaters allowed to open to the public once again.

The Green Phase is the penultimate stage in the São Paulo reopening — the so-called Plano SP — and the regions incorporated by these looser regulations comprise 76 percent of the state’s population. The remainder of São Paulo remains in the Yellow Phase.

Now, shopping malls, commerce, gyms, and beauty salons may remain open for up to 12 hours a day, at a maximum of 60 percent capacity. Restaurants and bars will enjoy the same freedoms, but only after the regions in question remain in the Green Phase for a minimum of two weeks.

While new cases and deaths have been dropping in São Paulo, particularly in the state capital, the timing of opening up the economy further has been brought into question, as it coincides with the beginning of TV and radio campaigns for the upcoming municipal elections.

In the city of São Paulo, Governor Doria is backing incumbent Mayor Bruno Covas, who is currently second in the polls. The frontrunner is Congressman Celso Russomanno, who has the backing of President Jair Bolsonaro.

The state of São Paulo has the highest absolute numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths in Brazil, with over 1 million cases and nearly 37,000 fatalities.