In SP, government removes mandatory mask in open environments

From today (9), the population living in the state of São Paulo will no longer be forced to wear masks in open environments. The announcement was made today (9) by the governor of São Paulo, João Doria. However, in closed environments such as stores, classrooms, public transport, cinemas, theaters, hospitals, offices, malls and public buildings, the use of a mask will remain mandatory.

Since May 2020, at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, the use of masks on the streets of the state of São Paulo was mandatory. Since then, the use of a mask has never ceased to be mandatory.

According to the governor, the decree that releases the use of masks, published today in Official Gazette of the State of São Paulo, valid for streets, squares, parks, schoolyards, football stadiums, open event centers and race tracks. In these places, outdoors, the use of a mask will no longer be mandatory. For indoor environments, the government may announce the release from March 23, but this is still under study by the scientific committee.

During the press conference this afternoon, in the garden of Palácio dos Bandeirantes, the seat of the São Paulo government, Doria and members of the São Paulo Coronavirus Contingency Center removed their masks. It was the first time they had held a press conference without a mask during the entire pandemic.

The withdrawal of mandatory masks occurs at a time when the state has 83% of its population with complete vaccination and when the numbers related to the pandemic have been dropping. In the last epidemiological week, for example, the number of cases of covid-19 fell by 42.8% and hospitalizations fell by 28.5%. Considering the last 30 days, the drop in cases was 54%, while hospitalizations fell by 76.6%.

“I cannot say that the pandemic is over. But we are in an extremely favorable moment”, said Paulo Menezes, coordinator of the São Paulo Coronavirus Contingency Center. He recommended, however, that people keep using the equipment mainly in agglomerations. “There are situations where the virus is more likely to be transmitted, especially in agglomerations or when we are jumping or singing or dancing without a mask. This favors the transmission of the virus. Our recommendation is that people protect themselves when they are in situations of higher risk of transmission,” he added.

“We have some recommendations. People with flu-like symptoms should continue to wear the mask in any situation and anywhere. Unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks. The immunocompromised and those with chronic diseases are also recommended to keep wearing a mask. And, finally, open environments but with large agglomerations, there is a recommendation that people protect themselves, especially those at greater risk, using a mask”, said Paulo Gabbardo, executive coordinator of the Contingency Center.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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