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The shutters were down, but the pub chatter in the midst of a coronavirus quarantine gave the game away: a crowded Brazilian bar under the cover of a pet shop with no pets.

Inspectors found 16 patrons drinking beer, none of them wearing a mandatory mask or keeping to social distancing rules.

“The owner served customers behind a closed door. They came in through the adjacent pet shop,” a city spokesman said.

The mayor’s office said the shop, which had pet food but no animals, lacked proper registration papers.

Under the lockdown in the mountain city above Rio de Janeiro, bars are not allowed to open while pet shops are viewed as an essential service that can.

The shop was closed after the raid and the bar owner fined.


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