Photo: ASKAR ABAYEV/PEXELS.COM

Portugal enters ‘phase two’ of return to pre-pandemic life on Monday

The government announced this afternoon that the country will enter ‘phase two’ of its reopening plan on Monday (August 23). The State of Contingency will also replace the State of Calamity, thus further easing restrictive measures.

The new measures were revealed by Minister of State and Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, after an extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting and follow the announcement that 70% of Portugal’s population is now fully vaccinated (click here).

The start of ‘phase two’ of Portugal’s plan to return to pre-pandemic life will allow restaurants, cafés and pastry shops to host eight people per table inside and 15 outside from Monday. The need to present a Digital Covid Certificate or negative test inside restaurants at weekends and Bank Holidays will continue.

Cultural events, weddings and baptisms will be allowed to take place at 75% of the venue’s capacity and public transportation means will also no longer be bound by any restrictions on capacity.

Starting on September 1, public services will be able to operate without requiring bookings.

Mandatory use of the mask in the streets when social distancing is not possible was also due to be scrapped in ‘phase two’ of this plan, but the requirement will remain in place until at least September 12. This is because the government ruling which made mask-wearing mandatory outside in crowded areas was approved on June 12, lasts for 90 days and was approved by Parliament, which will wait until the period is over to review it.

Portugal was expected to enter ‘phase two’ of this plan only in September. However, the start of this second stage was anticipated by over a week after Portugal reached its 70% vaccination milestone on Wednesday.

In fact, Vieira da Silva confirmed that the plan’s third phase – which was expected to begin in October – could also start sooner than planned, as the country is expected to have 85% of its population fully vaccinated before then.

Although the country’s epidemiological situation is well under control, with the minister even describing it as “comfortable”, Vieira da Silva warned that the pandemic is still a threat and that citizens should continue taking precautionary measures.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com