Mask is no longer mandatory in open places in the city of Rio de Janeiro

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The masks against Covid-19 are no longer mandatory in open and uncrowded places in the city of Rio de Janeiro this Thursday (28). The decree that makes the use more flexible had already been published by the city hall on Wednesday (27), but it only took effect now, after the state regulated the measure.

The government of Cláudio Castro (PL) published the rules in an extra edition of the Official Gazette this afternoon, defining that municipalities that have vaccinated 65% of their total population and 75% of their population over 12 years of age have autonomy to decide whether to withdraw the obligation or not.

The other criterion established by the state is that the city is classified as a place of very low risk (green flag), low (yellow) or moderate (orange) on the map made weekly by the state health department. The state capital currently fits these parameters .

The text emphasizes that the use of a mask is still mandatory in all closed environments, including public transport, commercial, industrial and service establishments and closed areas of common use in residential condominiums, for example.

The act also highlights that, in case of worsening of the epidemiological or health care scenario of the disease in these municipalities, the use of protective equipment is again mandatory, even outdoors.

The autonomy of the state and municipalities in this decision was defined by the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro last Tuesday (26) and sanctioned by Castro on Thursday. Other capitals of the country are discussing measures in the same direction, such as Brasília (which foresees the withdrawal on November 3rd) and São Paulo.

In the capital of Rio de Janeiro, flexibility was already foreseen in the second stage of the recovery plan, when the city reached 65% of the total population vaccinated with two doses or a single dose. At this time, 66% of Cariocas completed the immunization and 88% received only one dose.

The municipal decree of this Wednesday says that, from the moment the city reaches the rate of 75% of vaccinated, the use of masks will be mandatory only in public transport and in hospitals. This, however, must still depend on state regulation.

The city considers as a complete vaccination schedule people aged 15 to 59 years who took the two doses for at least 14 days and people over 60 years who received the booster dose within the same period.

Mayor Eduardo Paes (PSD) also allowed the opening of nightclubs, discos and dance halls, with half the capacity and requirement of proof of vaccination. Officially these spaces were prohibited, but in practice they were already functioning with little supervision.

Since the 18th, the maximum capacity in places such as cinemas, theaters, museums, tourist spots, party houses and shopping centers without social distance, only wearing masks, has been released. Stadiums and gyms require a complete vaccination schedule or a PCR test performed within the previous 48 hours.

The city has argued that the city is experiencing the best epidemiological scenario since the beginning of the pandemic, with a significant drop in the number of cases and deaths, and registers higher vaccination rates than countries that have already released the use of protection.

Experts heard by sheet they claim, however, that it is too early to think about abolishing it. “It is a wrong idea. We are not at a time to think that we have controlled the pandemic to the point of not creating more restrictive measures”, said on Tuesday the epidemiologist Raphael Guimarães, from the Fiocruz Covid-19 Observatory.

He recalled that Brazil can follow the example of England, which made individual protection measures more flexible when it reached vaccination coverage of approximately 58% and is now experiencing a new sudden increase in cases and deaths. “We don’t want that to happen here,” he said.

For Guimarães, the release of the use of masks in open places should happen with vaccination coverage around 80%. The mark had been proposed by the PSOL bench as an amendment to the bill discussed by the Legislative Assembly, but was rejected by the plenary.

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