Sao Paulo reopens businesses as Brazil battles pandemic

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 06, 2020 people remain at a bar in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as the city bars, restaurants, and beauty salons reopened after more than three months of lockdown to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. – The government of the state of Sao Paulo announced on April 16, 2021 the reopening of shops and the authorization of face-to-face religious services from Sunday, even if the number of daily deaths from Covid-19 remains very high throughout Brazil. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP)


SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) — Sao Paulo will allow businesses and places of worship to reopen from Sunday, the government of Brazil’s most populous state announced, even as the coronavirus infection rate remains high.

The state of 46 million people will enter a “transition phase” that will next see restaurants, beauty salons, cinemas and theaters reopen from April 24, it said on Friday.

From Sunday, shops can open from 11.00 am to 7.00 pm, but with only a quarter of their usual clients inside at any given time. A 8.00pm to 5.00 am curfew remains in place.

Churches must also limit the number of faithful attending services, to allow for social distancing, according to the announcement.

Brazil is the country with the second-highest death toll in the world, with more than 365,000 fatalities — 66,000 in March alone. Observers believe the number is an undercount.

Last week, the country of 212 million people recorded a new record of 4,000 deaths in 24 hours.

© Agence France-Presse