By Sibel Tinar, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO – Currently aiming to attain a standard of improved quality in many aspects of life in Rio de Janeiro, the Prefeitura intends to continue its six-month long campaign against bars and restaurants flouting hygiene regulations, closing and fining several establishments across the city in the process.

The popular Leblon deli Rio Lisboa, which was closed for breach of hygiene regulations, has reopened with improved conditions, photo by Sibel Tinar.

Operation “Bar Legal” is an integral part of Mayor Eduardo Paes’ ongoing campaign of “Shock and Order” which has also seen clubs closed for breaching the council laws and regulations. The Subprefeitura of Zona Sul has been carefully inspecting and surveying the restaurants and bars in the city to investigate the quality of services provided to their clients and crackdown on infractions.

Bars in Copacabana have so far been among the most heavily affected by this crackdown, with several closed and many more such as Café & Bar Pierrot and Bar Balcony that have been fined for unsanitary kitchen conditions and breaching laws to prevent expansion onto sidewalks.

Within recent months a number of bars in Botafogo have also been fined for such obstructions, which is a common problem in neighborhoods where the young population and tourists cause the demand for bars exceed the supply.

The competition among the hostelries lined side-by-side in these neighborhoods tempts the owners and managers to loosely interpret certain regulations such as the no-smoking laws in order to attract more customers. Botafogo bars Boteco 98 and Sabor da Morena are among the places that were fined for allowing their clients to smoke on the porch, the rule being a five meter distance from any table.

Overcrowding at bars and the consequent obstruction of sidewalks is a common problem in Rio de Janeiro, photo by Helder Ribeiro/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Establishments that receive a fine are given deadlines by which to improve their conditions or face the danger of being shut down altogether. They are usually given 72 hours to take actions to get rid of unhygienic conditions such as fungus growth or pest infestation, and thirty days in cases that require structural changes in the kitchens or bathrooms.

Bars, however, are not the only establishments that are affected by “Bar Legal”, as last month Rio Lisboa, a famous deli in Leblon, was closed and fined as part of the operation. Alerted by the complaints of the residents who live in the area, the authorities came face to face with completely unsanitary storage conditions.

Over 600 kilos of food items were removed and discarded from the deli that was once famous for its roast chicken, including expired products, moldy cheese, and over 500 kilos of unrefrigerated chickens left to rot on the floor. Rio Lisboa has since reopened after cooperation with the authorities and compliance with the terms of their probation by improving said unsanitary conditions.

Supermarkets are also targeted under the Prefeitura’s campaign of “Supermercado Limpo” (Clean Supermarket) operations. Recently, the supermaket Mundial located on Rua Siqueira Campos in Copacabana has had to pay fines on two counts of hygiene breaches, lack of cleanliness and poor conditioning of the products. The supermarket Sendas at Largo do Machado also had previously come under the radar of the operation, and was closed on the basis of unsanitary conditions, with cockroaches infestations among the list of breaches that will most upset their customers.

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