São Paulo state unveils gradual economic resumption plan

Divided into five stages, the measures are dubbed São Paulo Plan

Published in 28/05/2020 - 15:43 By Elaine Patrícia Cruz - São Paulo

The plan to resume the economy in São Paulo, covering activities viewed as non-essential, will include five stages, ranging from the maximum level of restriction for non-essential activities (red) to phases dubbed control (orange), flexibility (yellow), partial opening (green), and controlled normal (blue).

The classification, the São Paulo government declared, aims to ensure access to health care and guarantee that the spread of the novel coronavirus is kept at safe levels so that isolation measures can be devised.

The so-called São Paulo Plan, referred to by state Governor João Doria as “conscious resumption,” will be implemented gradually and in accordance with the needs of each region. It is slated to begin on June 1, but only for the state regions in phases other than stage one, alert.

Meanwhile, statewide quarantine was extended until June 15, but now more sectors will be allowed to reopen, depending on location.

Each of the state’s 17 regions have been allotted one of the stages, following criteria like hospital capacity and the evolution of COVID-19 cases.

The plan is expected to make it possible for mayors to conduct and monitor the efforts aimed at making the reopening of sectors flexible.

In phase one—red, the stage of contamination, where only essential sectors are allowed to operate (logistic, security, supplies, and health care)—are the cities making up the regions of Baixada Santista, Registro, and the Great São Paulo, the capital city not included.

As a result, these cities will continue on quarantine until at least June 15 and will not be permitted to resume economic activities at this point. In these three regions, the health care system is under pressure due to high ICU occupancy rates and the rise in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The capital was placed in stage two, control, and is allowed to start the controlled opening of shopping malls, businesses, real estate firms, and car dealers. Other cities in phase two are Campinas, Taubaté, Piracicaba, São João da Boa Vista, Ribeirão Preto, Franca, São José do Rio Preto, Araçatuba, Marília, and Sorocaba.

The opening measures in the capital, said Mayor Bruno Covas, should not being on June 1, as the city on this date will start receiving proposals from the sectors on how the opening should be conducted. “Only when the proposals are signed will the sector be allowed to reopen. On June 1, the discussion starts for São Paulo city."

“Phase two is control, where restrictive measures are still applicable, but flexibility is only to be introduced in some sectors, where health risks are lower,” said Patricia Ellen, secretary for Economic Development.

Phase two includes the limited opening of real estate activities, car dealers, offices, businesses, and malls. “The idea is to have it carried out with a restricted schedule, and also with strict social distancing measures,” Ellen said.

In phase three, flexibility, beauty parlors, bars, and restaurants are also permitted to resume operations, but these establishments must function in compliance with the norms set by the sate governments, which will be settled upon by cities alongside sector associations. The regions placed under this stage are Bauru, Araraquara/São Carlos, Barretos, and Presidente Prudente.

No region in São Paulo is in phases four or five.

Phase four, green, partial opening, includes gyms. In phase five, blue, controlled normal, all of the state’s economic activities are restored to normal, including movie theaters, theaters, and sports events.

“We have included a fifth stage because, sadly, while there is no vaccine or a cure for the disease, we’ll have to live with what we term ‘controlled normal.’ When we reach this stage, with everything in operation, with no cure or vaccine, it will still be operations under strict hygiene measures and social distancing,” Ellen said.

The São Paulo Plan does not cover the reopening of schools and resumption of classes. This, the governor said, is still being studied and a strategy will be announced soon.

Stage assignment is based on COVID-19–exclusive ICU occupancy rates and the number of new hospitalizations, both to be monitored on a weekly basis.

A region is only allocated to a new stage 14 days after the initial phase assignment, if health indicators are seen to be steady. If rates worsen, the region in question may be pulled back down to a lower phase.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Valéria Aguiar/Denise Griesinger

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