“Forgotten” bar and nightclub owners stage protest in Lisbon

Owners of bars and nightclubs that have been closed since Portugal declared its lockdown over three months ago are staging a protest in Lisbon this afternoon, calling for “answers and respect”.

The sector says it has worked hard on creating a roadmap on how to reopen observing all the necessary rules of hygiene to prevent risks of contagion but feels the government has simply ‘looked the other way’.

“After several weeks of announcements, they persist in leaving us out. We are still behind closed doors, with expenses mounting. It’s time for us to be heard: It’s time for answers. It’s time for (financial) support”, say the owners, guaranteeing that “all rules on physical distancing will be rigorously adhered to”.

The protest – convened over social media – was due to leave Lisbon docks at 2pm and walk slowly to the Assembly of the Republic (parliament), arriving at 3pm.

Says Rádio Renascença, Prime Minister António Costa has said in the past that bars and discotheques were not included in the three-phase deconfinement strategy because physical distancing would be “impossible” in the latter.

Indeed he told TSF radio a month ago that it could be that bars and restaurants would have to stay shut all summer (click here)

Since then talks have been ongoing with DGS health authorities to try and formulate a strategy.