Covid in Brazil

Dealing with Covid in Brazil

Since March 2020, the world has been on high alert. And Brazil is one of the places that is still talked about on the news. The outbreak of Covid in Brazil has been catastrophic, and for a long time we have been trying to find ways to handle the pandemic without losing hope on better days to come. 

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?

Students from Rio & Learn go to Feria de São Cristóvão during a RioLIVE! activity, following restrictions of covid in Brazil.

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 international travelers as long as they have been vaccinated in their countries and can prove it or present a negative PCR Covid test (in English, Spanish or Portuguese) done in their country within 72 hours before landing. You can enjoy Brazil as you wish because there’s no need to quarantine in an hotel or a house 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, rules and methods to prevent the spread of the virus. So what are the restrictions for 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 on our RioLIVE! activities. And you can still take a Portuguese course in Rio de Janeiro!

Covid in Brazil. Rio & Learn activities in Rio de Janeiro
Students from Rio & Learn spend an afternoon playing beach volleyball during a RioLIVE! activity.
Covid in Brazil. Rio & Learn has classes outdoors.

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. We’re not allowed to be in public spaces without wearing a mask. And don’t even think about trying to walk into an establishment without one either, even if you’re vaccinated. That means that everywhere – from the streets, to public transport, to restaurants and bakeries – you will see people wearing masks. So, remember to take your mask with you every time you go out. Even if you do spot people with no face covering, that doesn’t mean they’re in the right.

Since September 2021 there’s been the requirement of a Covid vaccination certificate in Rio for a series of non-essential services. In places like museums, stadiums, theaters, gyms, amusement parks, music concerts and swimming pools you have to prove that you’re fully vaccinated. For that, you have to show your digital or physical proof of vaccination, that you should bring from your country translated to Portuguese, Spanish or English.

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 require distance between clients. If you’re waiting in line, they’ll indicate the required minimum of 1m distance. 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. Despite the fact that Brazilians are a very warm people, they won’t appreciate if you step any closer to them in times like these.

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.

Everyone at RIo & Learn has to pitch in with their share of responsibility and solidarity to face Covid in Brazil.
Outdoor classes in Rio de Janeiro with Rio & Learn - safer amidst covid in Brazil.

What to Expect of the Situation with Covid in Brazil

No one is quite sure when the pandemic will be over. The great news is that the vaccination campaign against Covid in Brazil has been progressing and until now almost half of all citizens have been fully vaccinated which means most people have had two shots, or are waiting for the second, if they didn’t get a single-dose vaccine. Our teachers are already fully vaccinated because they’ve gained priority as educational professionals.

Overall, 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. Since the vaccination campaign started, we can notice a positive change on the numbers of severe cases of the disease in Brazil.

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 class in person in Rio.