The Buenos Aires City government has unveiled a new set of rules and regulations for porteños that will kick in from Monday, June 8.
Under the new guidelines, some shops selling clothing and footwear will be able to re-open their stories, religious institutions will be able to begin holding services to be broadcast online, children will be allowed out on both Saturdays and Sundays and citizens will be allowed out of their homes to exercise at night.
The new rules were agreed at a meeting held Thursday at the Olivos presidential residence, between President Alberto Fernández, City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kicillof. The trio then unveiled the loosened restrictions at a press conference.
Rodríguez Larreta described them as “strict and specific protocols" that would help to avoid circulation of the virus and large crowds forming. The Juntos por el Cambio leader also expressed his gratitude to porteños for adapting to the strange state of affairs.
"I thank people for complying with the quarantine, it is important to maintain that social responsibility,” he said. “But if cases increase or we see social responsibility break down, we will have to go back."
Under the new protocol, the City government will allow clothing and footwear stores in local neighbourhoods to reopen, though shopping centres and districts with high pedestrian traffic will remain shuttered. Shops will only be allowed to have customers inside the shop if they have the space – the guideline is one person every 15 square metres. Clothing and footwear cannot be tried on inside fitting rooms, but customers will have the right to return items after trying them on at home. All merchandise will have to be disinfected if returned, with a 48-hour time period having to pass before it can be resold.
Citizens and residents will also be allowed out for exercise – jogging, walking and cycling will be allowed in open spaces from 8pm to 8am each day, with no more than two people together at any time. Face masks must be used, except for those undertaking "intense activities," such as running.
Rodríguez Larreta also confirmed that children under the age of 16 will now be allowed out on both Saturdays and Sundays, with only one parent accompanying them.
Finally, the City mayor confirmed that religious officials and ministers will be allowed to re-enter houses of worship in order to facilitate the broadcasting of religious services to enable “spiritual support.” Members of the public are not able to go to attend services, officials confirmed.
Governor Kicillof, meanwhile, announced new guidelines for Buenos Aires Province, with a few differences to those in the City.
The governor said the situation in Greater Buenos Aires was "completely different" to the rest of the province, with Covid-19 cases increasing sharply. He said rules would change in the coming weeks, depending on how the virus progresses.
A number of municipalities – Tigre, Ezeiza, Berazategui, Avellaneda, Almirante Brown, Cañuelas, Exaltación de la Cruz, General Rodríguez and Pilar – have already been granted exemptions, with factories and other sections of industry allowed to restart activity under strict restrictions. On Friday, activities were also authorised in Brandsen, Las Heras, Hurlingham, Lomas de Zamora, Luján, Marcos Paz, Morón, Tres de Febrero , Vicente López, Cañuelas, Esteban Echeverría, Mar del Plata, San Martín, La Plata, Lanús, Moreno and Quilmes, with the rules depending on the locality.
Restrictions will remain tight in Conurbano, the urban belt that surrounds the capital, where the number of infections remains high, Kicillof said on Thursday.