May 19, 2020 / 6:42 PM / 17 days ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's stock exchange to skip Sao Paulo early holidays

(Adds stock exchange decision)

By Paula Laier

SAO PAULO, May 19 (Reuters) - Brazilian stock exchange operator B3 SA said on Tuesday its operations will be open this week despite plans by Sao Paulo city and state officials to declare an extended holiday to get workers to stay home to reduce potential spread of the novel coronavirus.

On Monday, Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria and Mayor Bruno Covas said they were working to turn Wednesday, Thursday and Monday into holidays, with Friday a day off at the discretion of employers.

The holidays they are moving are: the Roman Catholic feast of Corpus Christi, normally on June 11; Consciência Negra, a Black Awarenss holiday normally celebrated on Nov. 20, and Constitutional Revolution Day, normally celebrated July 9.

Eleven financial industry associations, including Brazilian banking lobby Febraban, also wrote to Doria expressing concern about advancing the holidays, according to a copy of the document seen by Reuters.

The governor's office said it had not received the letter. Febraban and the mayor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Monday, Doria and Covas said they were taking the emergency measure to increase social isolation, pointing to data that showed more people stayed at home on recent weekends and holidays.

Brazil's coronavirus outbreak has exploded in recent weeks, with more than 250,000 confirmed cases, third-highest in the world, and nearly 17,000 fatalities. The city and state of Sao Paulo are at the epicenter, with about a quarter of the country's deaths and diagnoses.

The associations expressed concerns said the holidays may cause issues such as closing bank branches that are working to pay out emergency stipends to nearly 50 million people during the pandemic.

They requested an exemption from the holidays to continue with regularly scheduled operations.

$1 = 5.72 reais Reporting by Paula Laier; Writing and additional reporting Carolina Mandl Editing by Brad Haynes, David Gregorio and Dan Grebler

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