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First steps to Covid freedom – what has changed?

Dr Photo - FIRST STEPS TO COVID FREEDOM - WHAT HAS CHANGED?Yesterday, August 1st was the day new Covid-19 rules promise to restore some pre-pandemic habits due to Portugals transmissibility indicator R(t) being below 1 at the national level, and the incidence of the disease also declining, according to data released in the risk matrix of the latest bulletin released by the Directorate-General for Health.

The changing of rules and regulations is confusing, so here are some frequently asked questions with concise answers…

Are the rules the same for all councils?
Yes. From this Sunday onwards, the differentiated rules that applied to the municipalities according to the degree of risk of spreading Covid-19 will end.

Are we allowed to walk/drive on the street after 11 pm?
Yes. There is no longer a curfew.

Can we move freely between counties/municipalities?
Yes, there are no restrictions on movement.

Is it still necessary to wear a mask on public roads?
Yes. You should continue to wear a mask indoors and also on the street, whenever it is not possible to maintain the recommended distance of two metres.

Does public transport still have capacity limits?
Yes, in this first phase of deconfinement there are still no changes to the transport capacity.

Are appointments at public institutions still mandatory?

What do I need to be able to have a meal inside a restaurant from Friday to Sunday, or on bank holidays?
You must present a Covid Digital Certificate, which attests to full vaccination against Covid-19 (the certificate is only valid 14 days after vaccination process is completed), or a negative test done within the last 48 hours.
These rules do not apply if you are eating outside, on a terrace.

What do I need to be able to have a meal inside a restaurant from Monday to Thursday?
It is not necessary to present a Certificate or negative test. You must wear a mask when entering or moving around inside. You can remove your mask while seated.
If you are eating outside, on a terrace, the same rules for mask wearing apply – you must wear a mask to enter the establishment to pay the bill/use facilities.

How many people can sit at one table?
Inside the restaurants there can be six guests at a table. In the case of terraces, this limit goes to ten people.

What do I need to be able to travel or stay overnight in tourist accommodation?
You are required to present a Certificate or negative test made in the last 48 hours to travel by air or sea, and to attend tourist establishments and local accommodation.

How many people can be invited to weddings or christenings?
The number of guests must correspond to 50 percent of the capacity of the venue where the celebration is planned.

Must guests at weddings or christenings present a Certificate or a negative test?
Yes, whenever more than ten people are invited.

Are amusement/water parks open?

Can we go to a nightclub, casino or bar?
Nightclubs can’t open yet – free access to the dance floor, is scheduled for October, if the situation develops positively. But it is possible to go to bars and casionos. These can open until 2am, but have to comply with the same distancing rules imposed on restaurants: Entry only allowed upon presentation of the Covid Digital Certificate or a negative test from Friday to Sunday, or on bank holidays.

So, is it possible to dance in a bar?
No. The Government has determined that dance or similar spaces cannot be used for this purpose.

Is it possible to go to a spa or beauty salon? 

Can you go to the theater or a concert without having to present a Covid Digital Certificate or a negative test?
Yes, as long as no more than 500 people are indoors. Cultural shows can now have a 66% capacity.

At which cultural, sporting or corporate events will it be necessary to present the certificate or negative test?
In all those that have more than a thousand people in an open environment or those that have 500 people in a closed environment.

What about going to the gym?
You must wear a mask to enter the establishment, and whilst moving from place to place. The presentation of the Covid Digital Certificate or a rapid negative test is mandatory to attend group classes.

Does telecommuting end?
No. Telework is no longer mandatory but is recommended, whenever activities allow.

Will those who already have full vaccinations have to take a booster dose after the summer?
It is not yet possible to know, but Portugal has purchased a sufficient number of doses in case it is necessary to make a booster.

Will children or adolescents between 12 and 15 years of age start to be vaccinated?
Not yet, in the case of those living in mainland Portugal (Madeira started vaccination this Saturday for 12 years old+). Children with high risk diseases can, when recommended by the doctor, be immunized.

When will the restrictions be eased again?
The government plans to announce new measures on September 5th, or when vaccination reaches 71%. The third phase is scheduled for October, when it is estimated we reach group immunity, ie when 85% of the population is vaccinated.

Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/