Last phase of unlocking starts this Friday

  • Lusa
  • 1 October 2021

Given the current epidemiological situation, Portugal mainland began this Friday in a situation of alert that will remain in force until 11:59 pm on October 31.

Mainland Portugal moves on Friday to the last stage of lifting the restrictions imposed to control the pandemic. This plan depended on the pace of vaccination, which is very close to reaching the goal of 85%.

This unlocking plan was composed of three phases: the first came into force on August 1, with 57% of the population fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The second began on the 23rd of the same month when 70% of the Portuguese had received the two doses of the vaccine.

Given the current epidemiological situation, the mainland began today in a situation of alert that will remain in force until 11:59 pm on October 31, the lowest level of response to situations of catastrophe provided for in the Basic Law of Civil Protection.

Restaurants and shops with no limit on the number of customers

Commercial establishments, restaurants, cafés and the generality of commerce are no longer subject to a maximum limit of clients or persons per group, and restrictions on their opening hours are also lifted.

The end of this limitation also applies to family events, such as weddings and christenings.

100% capacity shows and certificate for large events

Cultural shows will no longer have a capacity limitation, but a digital certificate for large cultural events will be required. The General Directorate of Health (DGS) will be responsible for defining what these events are.

Bars and nightclubs reopen

Nightlife venues, closed since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, can reopen from today.

On 29 July, the government announced that nightlife venues could reopen in full in October when authorities predicted that 85% of the population would be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Mask compulsory in hazardous places and large concentrations

According to the measures of the third phase of the deconfinement, the use of masks is mandatory in public transport, in Citizen’s Shops, in schools (except in open-air recreational spaces), in theatres, cinemas, congress halls, event venues, health establishments and services, residential and reception facilities or home support services for vulnerable populations, elderly or disabled people.

The mandatory wearing of masks is also maintained in commercial spaces with more than 400 square metres, including shopping centres.

This decision is based on places with a high frequency of people, such as public transport, including air transport, places at risk, such as nursing homes and hospitals, and places with large crowds for longer periods, such as concert halls.

Digital certificate no longer required in restaurants and hotels

Restaurant guests and hotel guests will no longer be required to present a vaccination certificate or a negative test for Covid-19.

This document or a negative test result will no longer be required for group classes in gyms or access to gambling establishments, casinos, bingo halls, spas and baths.

Access to bars and discotheques, which are now resuming their activity, will depend on the presentation of the certificate, but only for clients, as workers and suppliers are exempt from this rule.

The presentation of the document will also be obligatory for sea or air travel and visits to nursing homes and health establishments since hospital visits to in-patients will now be resumed.

End of the recommendation of remote working and testing in large companies

The government has also decided to end the recommendation to work from home without prejudice to maintaining the rules regarding time off.

However, people who are immunosuppressed or have dependent children or dependents with disabilities or chronic illnesses are entitled to telework, whenever applicable, without the need for an agreement with the employer.

In August, a step had already been taken towards reducing remote working, with the government deciding that this modality would no longer be compulsory in the municipalities with the highest risk and would only be recommended throughout continental Portugal.

The rule imposing testing in companies with more than 150 workers in the same workplace is eliminated.

End of limitation on the sale of alcohol and the hours of sale

The sale and consumption of alcohol on public thoroughfares are another of the restrictions that also ends and the limits on opening hours that had been imposed due to the pandemic.

Measures for residential structures

Visits to homes for the elderly, long term care units and other residential facilities for children, young people, persons with disabilities, beneficiaries of international protection and reception of victims of domestic violence require the presentation of the digital certificate.

Among other measures, regular Covid-19 screening must be carried out for users and professionals who are obliged to wear surgical masks.

Capacity restrictions for sports venues lifted

According to the DGS updated regulations, sports venues will no longer have capacity restrictions, which maintain the obligation of a vaccination certificate against covid-19 and the use of a mask.

Seating can be in accordance with the total licensed capacity of the venue, reads the guidance on indoor and outdoor sports events.