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Portuguese Government announces new stages of Lockdown easing

Despite several weeks of increasing Covid cases in Portugal, the Portuguese Prime Minister announced a three stage plan to return to a relative normality in the Portuguese society following the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a press conference following this Thursday’s Council of Ministers’ meeting, António Costa explained the Government’s plan which he qualified as “three stages to freedom”, which was drafted according to the progress in the vaccination plan over the last few months.

«I believe that now is the time for us to start managing the pandemic based on a fundamental guideline, which is the vaccination rate of the Portuguese population”, the Prime Minister explained, noting that next week, around 57% of the Portuguese population will be fully vaccinated and it is the perfect time to kick off the Lockdown easing. The following stage will be implemented at the start of September, when 70% of the population is expected to be inoculated; and the final stage will start in the beginning of October, when 85% of the Portuguese population should have received full vaccines.

There will no longer be different rules for high risk and low risk councils, which means nest Sunday, all the rules will be the same in the entire country. The digital certificate of vaccination or a negative test will be crucial to travel or access touristic locations, restaurants and other locations, remote work will no longer be mandatory and several events will have an audience for he first time in months. In the second stage, masks will no longer be mandatory outdoors and in the third stage, bars and night clubs will open for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Prime Minister António Costa clarified that the schedule for the three stages can be delayed or anticipated at any time, considering the evolution of the pandemic itself, especially considering the very significant impact of the new Delta variant in Portugal. In the last 24 hours, the health authorities registered 3.009 new cases of Covid-19 and 10 related deaths. Below is a summary of the new stages and key rules.

Measures to be implemented in the first stage (1st of August)

  • No more Council specific measures: every decision will apply to the entire country.
  • Remote working will no longer be mandatory, it will only be recommended for any company that can implement it on a daily basis.
  • A digital certificate of vaccination or immunity or a negative Covid-19 test in the last 72 hours (PCR) or 48 hours (antigen) will be mandatory for everyone who wants to travel by air or sea, anyone who wants to eats inside restaurants on holidays or weekends, any guest on hotels or other touristic accommodations, all participants in corporate, sports or cultural events and all guests in weddings and similar celebrations.
  • There will no longer be limitations on opening or closing times for restaurants, commerce or cultural events.
  • Cultural events can have a maximum of 66% of the total venue capacity.
  • Weddings and similar celebrations can have a maximum of 50% of the total venue capacity.

Measures to be implemented in the second stage (5th of September)

  • Face masks will no longer be mandatory outdoors, but they will remain mandatory in closed spaces
  • Cultural events can have a maximum of 75% of the total venue capacity.
  • Weddings and similar celebrations can have a maximum of 75% of the total venue capacity.
  • Public transportation will no longer have limited occupation.
  • Public services will start functioning as normal, which means visitors won’t need a previous appointment.

Measures to be implemented in the third stage (early October)

  • Bars and nightclubs will be allowed to open. A digital certificate of vaccination or immunity or a negative Covid-19 test will be mandatory for customers.
  • Restaurants will no longer have limited occupation or restrictions on the number of people seating in each table.
  • All types of events will have unrestricted capacity.

Tiago Vidal

Partner and Managing Director LLYC Portugal

Responsible for the operations of LLYC in Portugal, Tiago Vidal leads a team of experts responsible for the development and implementation of Reputation Management strategies, Communications and Public Affairs in 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, where he led all B2B communication activities in 14 countries. During his 16 years at Sonae Sierra, Tiago was responsible for reputation management, brand, corporate marketing and PR, relationship with stakeholders and crisis communications, including IPO’s, 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.