Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta on Friday announced a relaxation of restrictions, including the opening hours for restaurants and bars being extended to 11pm (although only for outdoor service) along with shops in general. Curfew hours would accordingly run from 11pm to 6am while shopping centres will be reopened on Monday permitting the entry of one person for every 15 square metres.
"The downward trend that has been noticeable for two weeks was consolidated. The average number of daily cases fell from 2,600 to 1,600. The contagion rate remains below one, at 0.90," the mayor said at a press conference.
Cinemas, theatres and churches as from June 18 will be reopened to 30 percent of their capacity but other indoor activities would be restricted. Social meetings and sports activities outdoors will be permitted with a cap of 10 people.
Rodríguez Larreta also confirmed that the July 19-30 dates of winter holidays would remain unchanged. The classrooms of all schooling below secondary level will now be reopened while all secondary school students will now alternate between face-to-face and virtual teaching with City Education Minister Soledad Acuña reporting less than two percent contagion from classroom presence.
Speaking at a press conference at City Hall, the mayor justified the relaxation on the grounds of the daily average of Covid-19 cases in his district had dipped from 2,600 to 1,600 in the last fortnight but expressed concern over a 71 percent occupancy of intensive care beds, appealing to the citizenry to submit to vaccination and testing.
"Right now we have the capacity to vaccinate 30,000 people a day and as more doses arrive, we’ll go assigning appointments," said Rodríguez Larreta, describing vaccination as the key to returning to work and opening up schools and shops.
The mayor further reported that 94 percent of the vaccines received had been put to use with over a million people being inoculated with at least one doses, including "100 percent of the elderly, who are the main risk group and 100 percent of health staff, who are in the front line of battle," as well as almost 87 percent of the police. Almost four million people had been tested, he said.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Buenos Aires City has registered 438,850 infections, out of a national total of more than four million.