The Situation of Contingency, brought in on 15 September, saw measures implemented that restrict gatherings and establishment opening times, in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19. Among those measures was a ban on supermarkets and hypermarkets from selling alcohol after 8pm.

But this measure has garnered criticism among shoppers, with consumers describing the measure as “beyond ridiculous” and treating shoppers “like kids”.

Long term Algarve resident and self-employed expat Alison Ireland told The Portugal News “it’s just absurd; occasionally I like a glass of wine with dinner and I don’t always have a bottle in the fridge, but I work long days and sometimes can’t get to the supermarket before 8pm”.

It has also been panned by the Portuguese Association of Distribution Companies (APED), which agglomerates a group of companies in the retail, wholesale and e-commerce sector, representing over 11 percent of Portugal’s Gross Domestic Product.

The APED described the restriction on the sale of alcoholic beverages from 8pm onwards as “a fallacy” and a “purely populist measure”.

“It only contributes to an increased flow in stores between 7pm and 8pm and is not effective in preventive terms”, considered Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, APED Director-General, who, in comments to The Portugal News, said: “This measure was based on the holidays and the gathering of young people, especially in the Greater Lisbon region. Now, classes have started, summer has passed and the rest of the country does not adopt the same behaviour as the Lisbon region.

“[This measure] only came to cause unnecessary disturbances in the rest of the country and does not contribute to public health”.

Mr. Lobo Xavier argues the health specialists are clear in saying that “the second wave of contagion can be mitigated by avoiding clusters”.
He believes the prohibition on the sale of alcohol extended to the whole country has caused “unnecessary congestion at the end of the day and further disturbance to a sector that has always worked to serve consumers, complying with and anticipating all safety rules, which is essential to maintain the confidence of in-store consumers”.