Today (Thursday) is likely to see a decision on the reopening of bars and discotheques.
Say reports, the Council of Ministers is expected to give them a conditional ‘green-light’ on the proviso that they keep to the hours of business currently followed by coffee shops and cafés.
In other words, anyone who wants to dance will only be able to do so on an ‘outdoor dance floor’.
Where that will leave discos with no outside space is obvious: there will be no dancing.
Anticipating the news to be confirmed later today, Público believes restaurants will see their hours of business extended to allow them to close at midnight (they currently have to close by 11pm).
Other changes to what will essentially signifies a new stage of deconfinement are likely to be the exit of the 19 LIsbon boroughs from their State of Calamity, joining the rest of the Lisbon area in a State of Contingency (which sees most commercial establishments closing at 8pm, and supermarkets and hypermarkets shutting at 10pm).
Minister of interior administration Eduardo Cabrita told journalists this week that the ‘R’ number in a number of the Lisbon boroughs conditioned by the State of Calamity – meaning the number of people to whom a virus carrier is passing on the infection – has been brought to the point where it varies between 0.7 and 0.8.
The Council of Ministers has now announced the above changes, with the exception of restaurants whose new hours extend to them staying open till 1am, not midnight.
Midnight will be the limit for the acceptance of new customers, minister for the presidency Mariana Vieira da Silva has announced, adding to the mystification of many, that bars and discotheques can, if they like, start functioning as cafés and coffee shops from Saturday, but nothing more. Hours in the Greater Lisbon area are to run only till 8pm, while the rest of the country can see them functioning till 1am.
Various newspapers stress that most bars and discos will remain shut as a result of this bizarre news, and continue to take ‘advantage’ of the government’s simplified lay-off regime.