“We are now in a situation that is already quite far from the green zone and, therefore, the country is in a more worrying situation than it was a week ago”, said the minister.
A step backwards
The municipalities of Albufeira, Arruda dos Vinhos, Cascais, Loulé, Sertã and Sintra, and Sesimbra will take a step backwards in the easing of lockdown, joining Lisbon, Braga and Odemira, as Covid case numbers rise again, while movement in or out of the capital during the weekend will be prohibited.
“We currently have 10 municipalities in a different situation than the rest of the country,” said the Minister of State and Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva.
The remaining 268 municipalities in mainland Portugal are in the new phase of the easing of lockdown plan, in force since 10 June.
Regarding the 10 municipalities that are subject to the measures of the 4th phase of the easing of lockdown plan, applied since 1 May, Mariana Vieira da Silva said that Sesimbra registered, for the second consecutive week, more than 240 cases of covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants, so it will be at a level of “greater restriction”, including the closing of the restaurants and establishments at 3:30pm during the weekend.
“The remaining nine municipalities are at the stage we were in before this new phase ofeasing of lockdown”, she said.
Raising awareness about the worsening of the epidemiological situation, the Minister of State and Presidency said that this week there is "a very large number, compared to the previous week, of councils in alert situation", totalling 20: Alcochete, Águeda, Almada, Amadora, Barreiro, Grândola, Lagos, Loures, Mafra, Moita, Montijo, Odivelas, Oeiras, Palmela, Sardoal, Seixal, Setúbal, Sines, Sobral de Monte Agraço and Vila Franca de Xira.
“All these municipalities – as you can see on the map – mostly located in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, are currently on alert, that is, they have more than 120 cases per 100,000 inhabitants or in the low density [population] areas, more than 240 cases per 100,000 inhabitants”, declared the government official.
Lisbon weekend lockdown
In addition to the measures applied to each municipality in mainland Portugal, the Government has also decided to prohibit the movement to and from the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon (AML) on weekends, from 3pm on Friday, due to the increase in cases of covid-19 in this area and so that “the high incidence [of covid-19] that is felt in this region is not transported out of it”.
"Regarding the situation of the AML, what we have usually followed in these restrictions is that they last until 6am on Monday", clarified the minister, adding that a strengthening of inspection in travel and in activities and events in this territory is planned.
Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva also said that this is a new measure to control the pandemic, which "is neither easy nor desired by anyone, but it is necessary" to contain the worsening incidence of the disease in this region, especially with the prevalence of the “delta” variant of coronavirus.
What are the rules?
Albufeira, Arruda dos Vinhos, Cascais, Loulé, Sertã, Sintra, Sesimbra, Lisbon, Braga and Odemira will see mandatory remote working; restaurants, cafes having to close again at 10.30pm (inside, with a maximum of six people per group; on the terrace, 10 people per group); food and non-food retail trade until 9pm; cultural shows until 10.30pm; weddings and baptisms with 50% capacity; Citizen Shops work with face-to-face service by appointment; the practice of all sports is allowed, without spectators.
For the other 268 municipalities the rules that came into force on 10 June remain in place, namely remote working is now recommended; commerce can operate according to the respective licensing schedule; restaurants, cafes and patisseries (maximum of six people inside or 10 people on terraces) can open until midnight for admission of customers and 1am for closing; and cultural facilities can function until 1am (excluding access, for entry purposes, from midnight).