PM Costa plots Portugal’s path to ‘freedom’ in new “State of Alert”

Prime Minister António Costa has this afternoon laid out the new ‘rules’ for Portugal’s return to relative freedom from Friday October 1.

With the pandemic ‘under control’ and numbers showing consistent falls in the incidence and transmission of SARS-CoV-2, Portugal moves from a State of Contingency, to the less ‘urgent’ State of Alert.

As such emphasis now is on citizens’ own ‘sense of responsibility’ much more than government enforced rules.

That said, there are still certain rules in place: these involve continuing to wear masks in: hospitals, old people’s homes, public transports, congresses and large indoor events and shopping malls*.

With bars and discotheques finally given the green-light to reopen, clients will be required to show a Covid Digital Certificate on entry.

Covid Digital Certificates will also be required for access to old people’s homes (for visits), hospitals (ditto), airplanes and boats and in order to take part in large events, like football matches.

But beyond these few stipulations, citizens can once again go to a restaurant at weekends and sit inside without having to show any kind of Covid-related document.

The same applies to people staying in hotels, AL local lodging premises, visiting casinos, thermal baths or spas: no more Covid Digital Certificates; no more ‘obstacles’ to entry.

Access to small shops is equally ‘released’ in terms of people having to wear masks. This doesn’t mean they can’t, simply that they don’t have to.

Limits on numbers too (in shops/ shows/ events/ weddings/ baptisms etc) have also ‘disappeared’.

The PM mentioned “festas populares” (traditional celebrations), saying these would be returning, again without limits on numbers.

The ‘red letter’ day for this massive sea-change is just eight days away and will cooincide with the country totalling 85% of its population fully-vaccinated against Covid-19.

* Answering journalists’ questions at the end of this afternoon’s press conference, the PM confirmed that masks will no longer be required for school children or teens when enjoying break time in the school playground areas.