Government admits restaurants and non-food related commerce may have to close next week

Breaking news this evening as Portugal prepares for another weekend lockdown is that restaurants and non-food related commerce may be forced to close next week.

Economy minister Pedro Siza Vieira dropped the latest ‘bombshell’ after a meeting with social partners in Lisbon.

He revealed the government is “contemplating closing restaurants and non-food related commerce” because of the pandemic which is accelerating markedly.

Figures released today took the situation to a new ‘maximum level’ in every way: the number of new cases, the number of deaths in a 24-hour period, and the number of new hospital admissions.

The full picture can be seen here.

For now, it looks like new restrictions will be announced, if not imposed, on Tuesday.

Said Siza Vieira: “What we must consider plausible is the picture that we had in place in April and the first two weeks of May. We kept industry, construction and the food sales sector functioning; restaurants operated a take-away service and home-deliveries”.

Any new restrictions will require a reinforcement of support for businesses and their workforces, he said.

More on the logistics may come over the weekend, but for now it’s a question of ‘battening down the hatches’ and trying to stop the spiralling increase of infections.

It’s unclear how long a new national ‘lockdown’ would be in force, but Mr Siza Vieira intimated it would be for a two-week period to start with.

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