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COVID-19 mask mandates lifted in São Paulo and beyond: is it too soon?

Written by
Veirano Advogados, one of the leading and most renowned Brazilian business and employment law firms.
In Brazil, some major cities have lifted their mask mandates, causing some controversy. However, employers can continue to ask employees to wear them.


In Brazil, the state governor of São Paulo and the mayor of the city of São Paulo, have just lifted their respective governmental acts mandating the use of masks indoors. Now, mask wearing is only mandatory in public transportation and health services units. Many cities throughout Brazil have also made mask wearing optional indoors, such as Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and the federal district of Brasilia, but regulations may vary. For example, in Rio the use of masks in public transportation is optional. Other states and cities are still reluctant to lift mask mandates, such as the states of Bahia, Pernambuco and Ceará.

Controversy is expected over these decisions, as some public health specialists say the move is premature. In fact, the Chief Justice of the Labour Court in São Paulo has decided to maintain the court executive order that mandates masks in all court precincts.

Employers may still order their employees to wear masks during work hours along with other measures to mitigate the risk of infection. During the pandemic, wearing masks can be part of an employer’s occupational health internal policies, implemented under the supervision of, and with guidance from, the occupational health service. If so, the employer must provide appropriate masks as part of employees’ professional equipment.

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José Carlos Wahle
Partner - Brazil
Veirano Advogados