Brazil’s health ministry reported 42,223 new cases of novel coronavirus on Friday, bringing the nationwide total to 1,539,081.
The health ministry also reported 1,290 new Covid-19 fatalities, bringing the country’s death toll to 63,174.
Bars in Rio de Janeiro reopened yesterday: Local TV images showed large gatherings of people in front of bars and restaurants in the city, spilling into the street and blocking car traffic.
“Most people on the streets were not respecting social distancing measures and the mandatory use of masks,” Flavio Sarahyba, one of the owners of the bar Boa Praça in the upscale Leblon neighborhood, told CNN.
Sarahyba said they had prepared the bar to follow all necessary sanitary measures, including distancing their tables, mandating the use of masks by customers and staff, and providing hand sanitizer. They even put fences on the outside of the bar and stopped serving outdoors to avoid crowds.
Social media images showed groups of revelers waving masks, bidding them “tchau,” or goodbye. Other social media videos showed people crowding into Rio’s bars and celebrating what they said was “normal life coming back,” and “sending masks and coronavirus to hell.”
The relaxed Rio de Janeiro restrictions – which allowed bars and restaurants to operate at 50% of normal capacity as long as tables were a minimum of two meters apart and establishments closed by 11 p.m. local time – went into effect Thursday.
Municipal Guards forced several bars to close in the Leblon neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro on Thursday due to the crowds on the street, according to a statement from the Guards, reported in local media.
On Friday, the Rio de Janeiro city government said in a statement that it will intensify inspection in areas with restaurants and bars and will fine those who are not following the rules.
“If nothing changes, if the government doesn’t act to repress, bars do not cooperate and follow the rules and people don’t became conscientious, we may have to close again,” Sarahyba added.