Covid in Brazil
Dealing with Covid in Brazil
Since March 2020, Brazil – and the world – has been on high alert. And it’s not for nothing. The outbreak of Covid in Brazil was catastrophic, and it shut down a good part of the country for months.
So for now it is important to talk about the situation with Covid in Brazil and how the country has been dealing with it. What are the restrictions in place? What are the new social norms? What is it like to deal with Covid in Rio de Janeiro? And what is Rio & Learn doing to protect its students?
Covid, Brazil and Restrictions
Thanks to President Bolsonaro, we can never run out of examples of outrageous claims minimizing the pandemic. And these seem to make international news more often than anything else regarding Covid in Brazil. An important thing to note, however, is that Bolsonaro doesn’t accurately represent everything that’s going on in the country. Nor does he truly show how seriously the government officials are taking this crisis.
Since Brazil is a federal republic, the states and cities hold a certain degree of autonomy to create and enforce their own policies. And this is exactly what’s been happening with the spread of Covid in Brazil. States and cities decide independently on the use of masks, public transport, and social life in general. This means, rules may change from city to city, and state to state. So you’d better do your research if you want to travel around here!
And, yes, you can travel! Brazil is still accepting foreigners as long as they present a negative PCR Covid test (in English, Spanish or Portuguese) done in their country within 72 hours before departure. As of now, there’s no need to quarantine once you get here. And even with some Covid restrictions in place, immigration offices and the Polícia Federal are still open and granting student visas in Brazil.
Covid in Rio de Janeiro
Alright, so each city has different restrictions and rules. Then what’s the deal with Covid in Rio de Janeiro? And how dangerous is it? Well, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that Rio is a densely populated city, and the second largest city in Brazil. That’s scary. But, the good news is that at the same time, Rio is the perfect city to be outdoors.
Beaches, parks, nature reserves, trekking and hiking – these are all part of Rio’s outdoorsy culture. And being outdoors puts you at less risk of contamination. Not to mention that since Rio is a coastal city, the weather doesn’t vary much and it tends to be warm all day long and all year round. That makes you less susceptible to getting sick.
That’s not to say that it’s all roses. Some of the fun things to do in Rio might be hard to do right now. But it won’t keep you from having fun at our RioLIVE! activities. And you can still take a Portuguese course in Rio de Janeiro!
Life with Covid in Brazil
Here goes another important part of life in Brazil since Covid: social norms and restrictions. As mentioned, states and cities don’t always share the same rules regarding Covid prevention. For that reason, we’ll focus on Rio – after all, it’s where we are located.
Covid in Rio de Janeiro is taken quite seriously. It’s illegal to be in public spaces without wearing a mask. And don’t even think about trying to walk into an establishment without one either! That means that everywhere – from the streets, to public transport, to restaurants and bakeries – you will see people wearing masks. Even if you do spot people with no face covering, that doesn’t mean they’re in the right.
Another thing to keep in mind is social distancing. Whenever you’re queuing up for something or going to a bar or the movies, you should know that they always insist on distance between clients. So, yes, even though you spotted five free tables, that doesn’t mean that the waitress has to give you a seat right now.
Also, keep an eye out for signs on the floor in stores, banks and supermarkets, as well. They indicate the distance you should have between yourself and other people in line. And some Brazilians certainly won’t appreciate if you step any closer to them.
How Rio & Learn Is Trying to Keep Students Safe
Naturally, our Portuguese language school couldn’t just ignore the pandemic. And with the safety of our staff and students in mind, we implemented some measures.
Basing ourselves on research indicating a decreased risk of contamination outdoors, we decided to turn open restaurants, beach bars, parks, squares, street markets (and even the beach!) into our latest classrooms. This was no biggie – our Portuguese teachers were already used to teaching outside the school thanks to our livelearning methodology. And, you tell me, wouldn’t it be fun to have class by the beach while sipping some coconut water?
Before heading out to practice and learn Portuguese on the streets of Rio, however, you should meet your teacher at the school. Inside, we still try to keep safe. You can find hand sanitizer bottles in every classroom. And don’t forget to wear a mask in school! Students meet their teachers in separate classrooms to avoid people gathering in the communal areas.
It’s important to keep in mind that staying safe is a group effort. We count on our students to be responsible and take precautions in the face of Covid in Brazil. After all, a single suspected Covid case will lead to a halt for in-person classes for your group (or sometimes even the entire school) for two weeks in order to quarantine. That’s two weeks of having online classes stuck in your apartment instead of learning around the streets of Rio. So everybody has to pitch in with their share of responsibility and solidarity.
What to Expect of the Situation with Covid in Brazil
No one is quite sure when the pandemic will be over. The vaccination campaign against Covid in Brazil is progressing slowly yet government officials are eager to give everyone their first dose in the next few months. And teachers will soon gain priority and begin to be vaccinated as well.
For the most part, Covid in Rio de Janeiro has not made it any less of a functioning city. But it’s still important to take precautions, and keep up with the news. With the current health crisis, both mayor and governor are ready to regulate the time slots in which businesses can open and how they operate, if the need comes.
And even if you’d like to wait and see what happens from the comfort of your own home, you can still learn Portuguese online. Whether you decide to come now or when the pandemic eases, you’ll always be more than welcome to join us for a classes in person in Rio.