Authorities threaten “crack down” on restaurant/ café terraces closing those ‘violating rules of sanitary safety’


Thursday afternoon has seen the nation’s media release online warnings that the Ministry of Internal Administration “admits it will close terraces (of cafés and restaurants) that violate the rules of sanitary safety.”

But what every report has in common is a complete lack of clarity.

What will constitute a violation of sanitary safety? 

Is this a follow-on to the relatively unbelievable reports that came out yesterday saying restaurants were “concerned” that people were not wearing masks on their terraces?

That report – again repeated throughout the various online channels – seemed to have no bearing on the reality of ‘deconfinement day two’ in which every business able to reopen its doors seemed only too happy to be doing so.

Indeed, both reports smack of a form of ‘government propaganda’, particularly as close inspection reveals zero in the form of substance.

The texts all run with headlines threatening the closure of outdoor terraces, but the main stories simply refer to a meeting of the Monitorisation Structure of the State of Emergency in which “various topics were discussed” with particular “attention given to the reinforcement of checks on terraces by security forces, admitting that the non-compliance of measures of containment of the pandemic justify the early closure of these spaces and corresponding responsibilities (to be waged on) infractors”.

But what in the end does this all that mean? Does it mean that between bites of one’s tosta mista, the mask must be replaced over one’s nose and mouth? Masked mastigation in Portugal? If so, this needs to be made crystal clear. The Minister of Internal Administration needs to go on national television and tell people exactly what constitutes compliance with sanitary safety on a café or restaurant terrace. 

A piping hot galão? No one is expected to knock this back in one, so what is the orientation for correct sanitary security here? Does one have to blow over froth wearing a mask? Do we have to replace our masks between sips? Is it against the rules of sanitary safety to talk to fellow drinkers, to share a story, or even a joke? Or are people expected to eat and drink in total silence, and then quickly depart, remasked and possibly even sanitised?

Nothing is clear, and these reports coming on a day when no country seems able to make a decision about a vaccine that has been linked to fatal blood clots just serves to infuriate, undermine and unsettle people further.

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