Portugal easing lockdown – What you need to know

By TPN/Lusa, in News, COVID-19 · 12-03-2021 09:48:00 · 9 Comments

The Government has announced the new measures to ease lockdown across the country which will take place between 15 March and 3 May.

The process is to be “gradual” and will be subject to biweekly assessments based on the risk of Covid-19.

While some businesses and education will slowly open, Prime Minister António Costa made it very clear that the Portuguese people will need to stay in their homes under general lockdown until Easter.

The reopening measures will be reviewed whenever Portugal exceeds “120 new cases [of infection] per day per 100 thousand inhabitants in 14 days” or whenever the transmissibility index (Rt) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus exceeds the 1.

This plan for the country's easing of lockdown was presented on the day that the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, decreed, for the thirteenth time, the renewal of the state of emergency for another fifteen days, until 31 March.

Here is what you need to know about the new easing of lockdown measures:

What reopens on 15 March

On this date, daycare centres, pre-school education and primary schools reopen, as well as tutoring activities (ATL) for the same ages.

Trade at the door is authorised and hairdressers, manicurists and similar establishments can reopen, as well as bookstores, car trade, real estate mediation, libraries and archives.

What reopens on 5 April

In this second phase, students from the second and third cycles return to face-to-face education, tutoring activities (ATL) for the same ages and social facilities in the area of disability.

On this date, museums, monuments, palaces and art galleries and shops with an area of up to 200 square meters and with a door to the street also reopen.

It is also expected that the fairs and non-food markets will start up again, this decision will be made however at a municipal level.

Terraces can be frequented again up to four people, low-risk sports can be practiced and physical activity outdoors is allowed in groups of up to four people. The gyms reopen, but without group classes.

What reopens on 19 April

The plan foresees, on this date, the reopening of secondary schools and universities.

In the area of culture, the reopening of cinemas, theatres, auditoriums and concert halls is planned.

Citizen stores will reopen again with face-to-face services by appointment, as well as all shops and shopping centres.

In the restaurant area, the opening of restaurants and cafes is authorised, but with a maximum capacity of four people inside at a table or six people on terraces and with opening hours until 22:00 hours during the week and until 13:00 during weekends.

Physical activity is again allowed outdoors in a group of up to six people, as well as medium-risk sports.

The plan also foresees that outdoor events can be held with reduced capacity and weddings and baptisms with the restriction of 25 percent of the capacity of the spaces.

What reopens on 3 May

The plan indicates that, from 3 May, restaurants, cafes and pastry shops can operate without a time limit, but with a capacity limited to a maximum of six people at a table inside or 10 on the terrace.

In addition, all sports, outdoor sports and gyms have no restrictions again.

From this date onwards, large outdoor and indoor events with reduced capacity are allowed again and weddings and baptisms can be held with 50 percent of capacity.

Prohibition of movement between municipalities

Circulation between municipalities in mainland Portugal will be prohibited over the weekend of 20 and 21 March and during the Easter period, between 26 March and 5 April.

This measure intends to “guarantee that Easter is not a time for travelling and meeting, but, on the contrary, another moment of lockdown”, justified the Prime Minister.

General duty of lockdown until Easter

The general duty of confinement will continue until Easter, with António Costa considering that this is one of the "general rules" that must be maintained in the coming weeks, meaning that people should stay at home whenever possible.

The prime minister stated that the general lockdown will be reassessed after Easter, recalling that it can only exist when there is a state of emergency.

"In the absence of a state of emergency, we adopted another figure, which we call the civic duty of recollection," he said.

Border with Spain closed until Easter

The Prime Minister said that despite the pandemic levels in Portugal and Spain allowing the border to reopen, it will remain closed until Easter.

Tests in schools

The new coronavirus screening test programme in schools will monitor the reopening of the different levels of education, in order to detect possible cases of Covid-19.

Nursery children, as well as pre-school and primary school students, return to schools on the 15th, and the laboratory screening programme for SARS-Cov-2 provides for tests to be carried out at the beginning of school.

Working from home

The government's plan to control the pandemic points states that remote work should continue as part of the general rules of lockdown.


When I fly back to Portugal, do I need a Test if I've had 2 vaccinations?

By Rau alice from Other on 02-05-2021 04:23

The WHO has stated that lockdowns do more harm than good. Here in the states we have California and Florida with the same per capita infection and hospitalization rates. California has been on complete lockdown, Florida locked down the first couple of months during the beginning of the pandemic and have been open ever since.

By Tony B from USA on 15-03-2021 03:18

What exactly does "trade at the door" entail, is this not already in place?

By Paul from Algarve on 13-03-2021 02:08

Good news for all those who love being in Portugal. So looking forward to my next visit after I receive a Covid vaccine. John Fogarty, Dublin, Ireland

By John Fogarty from Other on 13-03-2021 01:05

Latest lockdown news

By Looseontheworld@gmail.com, karimelhajoui@gmail.com from Lisbon on 13-03-2021 12:33

Read the easing of restrictions with avid interest but when where was the mention of beaches.. motorhome travel.. campsite opening.. when are we able to travel further than our village to take the dog and ourselves for a long walk .
Unless I missed something I saw nothing about it

By Terry Rance from Other on 12-03-2021 04:41

When can visitors from outside Europe visit Portugal again? My daughter lives in the USA and would like to make plans to visit this summer.

By Jutta from Porto on 12-03-2021 03:42

What about non-essential travelling to Europe and Africa ?

By Eric Coplo from Alentejo on 12-03-2021 11:03

The virus mutated into dictatorship...

By Thomas Wissmann from USA on 12-03-2021 10:19
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