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Portuguese Government announces new restrictions

Portugal Government

The Portuguese Government anticipated the weekly Council of Ministers meeting to this Tuesday, 21, to take new measures facing the Covid-19 pandemic, given the increase in cases associated with the Omicron variant. António Costa stressed that much is still unknown about this new strain of the virus, while it is definitely much more transmissible than the Delta variant. Although a worsening of symptoms is not yet expected, he considers that the lack of knowledge about this new variant requires caution, a reasoning that justifies the new restrictions.

The Government decided to anticipate the measures already planned for the «week of contention» that would only begin in early January. Thus, starting at midnight on December 25th, remote working will be compulsory and kinder gardens, childcare centres, nightclubs and bars will be closed. On the other hand, a negative test will be mandatory to access tourist establishments and local accommodation, weddings and christenings, business events, cultural shows and sports venues. Commercial establishments will also see their capacity reduced to 1 person per 5m2.

The Government has also approved a set of specific measures for the festive weekends. On Christmas (24 and 25 December) and New Year’s Eve (30, 31 December and 1 January), a negative test is mandatory for access restaurants, casinos and New Year’s Eve parties; gatherings of more than 10 people on public roads on New Year’s Eve are prohibited, as is the consumption of alcoholic beverages on public roads.

The Prime Minister guarantees that these measures are necessary considering the pandemic forecasts in Portugal: «Until the end of the year, this variant will be absolutely dominant, covering 90% of infections”.

The Government has also decided to increase from 4 to 6 the free tests available for each person.

On a retrospective assessment of the country’s performance facing the pandemic, the Prime Minister highlighted the advances in the vaccination process of children and the booster dosage for eligible users. The country has administered more than 18 million vaccines, with around 2.4 million booster doses (83.5% of the eligible population over 65 years old) and 96,000 vaccines to children under 12 years old.

The number of hospitalisations is now three times lower than in the same period last year. The number of deaths has also been significantly lower when compared to the same period in 2020. The number of tests performed daily is almost three times higher. Since the latest measures of the 25th November came into force, more than 600,000 passengers and 6,000 flights have been checked, in addition to the application of fines to 1,400 passengers and 38 airlines for boarding without testing.

For the festive period, António Costa also left some recommendations, such as avoiding a long period without a mask and ventilating the spaces at home.

Most of the new restrictions announced today, which will come into effect from 00:00 on 25 December, are expected to last at least until 10 January.

The Government will meet again to reassess the situation on January 5th.

LABOUR

  • Compulsory remote work whenever possible

TESTING

  • Increase from 4 to 6 free tests per person
  • Mandatory negative test (pharmacy antigen or PCR) for access tourist establishments and local accommodation, corporate events, weddings, christenings, cultural shows and sports venues (unless decided by the health authorities)

VACCINATION

  • As the booster dose is necessary for the entire population, the schedule for booster vaccinations for the age groups under 60 will be announced in the next few days

EDUCATION

  • Closure of kinder gardens and childcare centres (with support measures for families)

NIGHTLIFE ESTABLISHMENTS

  • Closure of night clubs and bars (with support measures to be offered to businesses)

COMMERCE RESTRICTIONS

  • Reduction of capacity in commercial establishments to one person for every five square metres

CIVIL SERVICE

  • Day-off tolerance on 24th and 31st December

MEASURES ONLY ON FESTIVE DATES (24th, 25th, 30th and 31st December and 1st January)

  • Negative test (pharmacy antigen or PCR) compulsory for access restaurants, casinos and New Year’s Eve parties
  • Ban on gatherings of more than 10 people on public roads
  • Alcoholic drinks are not allowed on public roads

Tiago Vidal

General Manager Portugal

Responsible for the operation of LL&C in Portugal, Tiago Vidal leads a team of experts responsible for the development and implementation of Reputation Management strategies, Communications and Public Affairs in national and international leading companies in sectors such as: Finance, Real Estate, Energy, Transport and Logistics, Distribution, Automotive, and FMCG. He was previously Head of Corporate Communications at Sonae Sierra, and in that capacity led all B2B communication activities in 14 countries where the company is present. During the 16 years in Sonae Sierra, Tiago was responsible for reputation management, brand, corporate marketing and PR, relationship with stakeholders and crisis communications whether in business activity, including IPO’s and mergers and acquisitions.

Maria Eça

Client Services Director

Maria is responsible for the Public Affairs and Crisis&Risks areas in LLYC in Portugal, working with clients from the banking and insurance sector, health, online gambling and retail. She is advising companies such as Leroy Merlin, Liberty Seguros and Unilever. She has also participated in M&A and foreign investment projects.

With over 8 years’ experience as a journalist, specializing in economics and society, Maria worked at TVI (private television), where she had the chance to follow and report Portugal’s key issues and relevant news about the main companies operating in the country, on a daily basis.