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Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, Source: Government of Portugal

Portugal will stay home as of midnight tomorrow

Portugal will stay home as of midnight tomorrow

The Government has declared а return of confinement in order to control the contagion

Last night, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa addressed the nation with a message that there will be a new lockdown, necessitated by the rising infection and mortality rates in the country. This will bring back memories from the spring lockdown last year but this time around there will also be some differences. Read below for a description of the measures imposed, which will be in force as of midnight on Friday, 15 January.

Some lessons have been learned from last year’s lockdown

It will be compulsory to stay home, and even more, it becomes compulsory to work from home, wherever that is possible. Naturally, this is not an option for all businesses and operations, so essential ones, such as supermarkets, food markets, doctor’s offices, dentists, pharmacies and courts will stay open. These, however, will have to ensure that only 5 people per 100 square metres are present at their premises.

The other big exception, which makes this confinement different from the one in March and April of 2020 is that all educational establishments will also remain open.

After listening to family representatives, school principals, professionals, and assessing the irrecoverable consequences for the educational process that the interruption of classroom activities had last year, we cannot repeat this year,” Prime Minister Costa was quoted saying on the official government website.

It is considered essential not “to sacrifice the current generation of students” given the harmful effects of protracted social isolation on the wellbeing of youngsters. It goes without saying that isolation is bad for everyone, that is why everyone will still be allowed to go for walks and exercise outdoors, but this should be limited only to one’s residential area and of short duration.

Restaurants and cafés can continue providing only take-away services. All other businesses, which cannot provide remote working for their employees will have to suspend operations and can go under the temporary lay-off programme, receiving government subsidies. It was promised that this aid will be extended.

One more exception to the confinement rules will be the day of the Presidential elections on 24 January, though no further details were provided. On 30 January the effect of the lockdown will be reviewed and then it will be decided whether to extend it.

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