The current ‘blacklist’ of 121 boroughs under partial lockdown is expected to increase by roughly another 30 today, including a new handful in the Algarve.
Portugal’s ‘crisis cabinet’ of the Council of Ministers will be deciding new measures as nationally the situation remains ‘bad’.
Projections for a point where testing could detect as many as 11,000 new cases per day from December 6 are being taken very seriously, hence the likelihood for what tabloid Correio da Manhã is calling “drastic measures”.
The ‘flip side’ of this approach is the fact that ‘new cases’ are, in the main, asymptomatic or situations where people are getting the virus mildly.
Nonetheless, hospital admissions have been increasing – thus the desperation of authorities to ‘flatten the curve’.
For now, the majority of boroughs to be added to the blacklist are expected to be in the north, Lisbon area and centre of the country.
In the Algarve, Portimão is almost certain to go the same way, while Faro, Albufeira, Vila Real de Santo António and even Vila do Bispo and Lagos in the west have been highlighted as ‘possibles’ by various forecasters.
Meantime, as this first weekend approaches where blacklisted boroughs will be plunged into ‘lockdowns from lunchtime’ (click here), businesses are still unclear over what they can and cannot do.
Says CM, the confusion has been compounded by the government’s message that ‘clarification’ – in the form of a ‘diploma’ – will be published tomorrow (Friday).
The leading questions are can restaurants remain open in these boroughs AFTER 1pm (for take-aways) even though they are impeded from accepting clients? And can shopping centres and hypermarkets open ‘early’ on Saturday and Sunday (the Pingo Doce chain of supermarkets for example has announced it will be opening at 6.30am both days…)
Other issues involve the promised ‘compensation payments’ for businesses that are losing their habitual weekend clientele. Says CM, nothing has been explained to ‘social partners’. Clarification is not expected before the end of next week.
With ‘total confusion’ in the air, CM describes a country where anger and protest is “multiplying”. Restaurateurs in Aveiro led a demonstration yesterday, in line with the protests mounted earlier in the week in Porto (click here) – lining up empty chairs as a symbol of lost trade in front of the Town Hall in Paços de Ferreira.