Just like beaches all over the world, it didn’t take long for Ipanema and Copacabana to fill up with sunbathers as Rio de Janeiro began to ease its lockdown earlier this month. But the city’s mayor now says that Rio’s beaches likely won’t return to normal use until a vaccine is found, and that anyone breaking strict health rules will be fined.
The city began to loosen lockdown earlier this month, and on July 2, Rio’s bars and restaurants were allowed to open with new capacity limits and hygiene measures. Its beaches were also reopened – but for exercise only.
However, many have broken the rules by sunbathing, mostly not wearing masks nor following social-distancing guidelines. The city authorities have also struggled to enforce distancing inside the city’s bars, according to O Globo.
During a press conference last Thursday, Marcelo Crivella said: ‘Where you can’t use masks, the inclination is to only return [to the beaches] when there is a vaccine, which is being tested, or when contamination is close to zero.’
Currently, Brazil is the world’s second-worst-hit country after the USA, with more than 1.8 million recorded cases. While many regions have already started reopening their economies, the country’s borders are still closed to all international travellers.
Following news that South Africa will not reopen this year and travel to Australia is unlikely to be allowed until 2021, the closure of Rio’s beaches is more bad news for anyone whose 2020 new year’s resolution was to see the world. In the meantime, may we suggest another of the world’s best beaches instead?