Rio and Niterói close bars, restaurants, and schools for ten days

Rio and Niterói close bars, restaurantes, and schools for ten days
Deserted beach in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Andre Luiz Moreira/Shutterstock

The municipalities of Rio de Janeiro and Niterói — separated by the Guanabara Bay — announced new strict measures to control the spread of the coronavirus. Both cities will forbid the functioning of non-essential businesses, such as shops, clubs, parks, and schools. Bars and restaurants will be able to open, but on a strict delivery-only basis.

Meanwhile, local governments imposed a curfew between 11 pm and 5 am.

The new restrictions will be enforced between March 26 and April 4, during which time Rio de Janeiro will have a ten-day public holiday, after Mayor Eduardo Paes brought forward five local holidays in an attempt to keep people away from work.

However, the acting governor of Rio de Janeiro state, Claudio Castro, is against the measures and could challenge them in court. A supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro, Mr. Castro says vaccination is the only way to curb the coronavirus spread. He announced the opening of new immunization stations in an effort to speed up the rollout.

Experts say lockdown-like measures are necessary to avoid a collapse in local health networks across the country.

Over the past ten days, the number of patients waiting for intensive care beds in the state of Rio de Janeiro jumped 670 percent to nearly 500 people.

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