The Algarve municipality of Portimão, in addition to Moura, Odemira and Rio Maior, will return to the rules of Phase 1 of deconfinement from Monday, instead of moving forward to Phase 3 like the majority of Portugals’ municipalities.
In his announcement yesterday, according to António Costa, the majority of the continent’s municipalities move on to the third phase of the Government’s deconfinement plan, starting on Monday 19th April, but there are seven municipalities that are retained in the second phase, maintaining the measures in force today, and four other municipalities that, due to the high incidence of Covid-19, are returning to the first phase of this deconfinement plan that started on March 15th.
“It is not enough not to move on to the next stage [of the deflation], it is necessary that we go back to the set of rules that were in force before the last deflation,” said António Costa, at a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Lisbon.
According to the Prime Minister, in the four municipalities returning to Phase 1 due to an incidence of at least 240 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days, the prohibition of inter-city circulation is again in force”and, therefore, people have a duty to remain in his municipality, exceptions that are known, in particular the need to have to go to work or to support any family member “. The measure applies every day of the week.
So, to recap, the restrictions and measures of the first phase of the deconfinement plan will be applied again, starting on Monday 19th, in the municipalities of Moura, Odemira, Portimão and Rio Maior. This means the closure of cafe and restaurant terraces again, shops up to 200 square meters (m2) with a door to the street, gyms, museums, monuments, palaces, art galleries, plus closure of fairs and non-food markets, and a ban on low-risk sports.
In these four counties, from April 19th for 15 days it is forbidden to move outside the municipality again, with exceptions such as for work or to give assistance to family members.
Still permitted in these 4 municipalities is service from the door at shops, takeaway from cafes and restaurants. Hairdressers, manicurists and similar may operate by appointment only and limited occupancy. Book shops and libraries may open. Parks, gardens, green spaces and leisure spaces are open.
The seven municipalities remaining in Phase 2 due to “two successive assessments at risk”, with more than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants are Alandroal, Albufeira , Beja, Carregal do Sal, Figueira da Foz, Marinha Grande and Penela. This means the following current guidelines remain in place for these munipalities, with no change from Monday, for 15 days.
– Stores up to 200 m2 with a door to the street are open;
– Fairs and non-food markets are open (decided by municipality);
– Terraces/outdoor areas at cafes and restaurants are open, with a maximum limit of four people per table, until 10:30 pm on weekdays and until 1:00 pm on weekends;
– Practice of sports considered to be of low risk allowed;
– Outdoor physical activity for up to four people allowed;
– Operation of gyms allowed, without group classes;
– Functioning of social facilities for the disabled allowed
However, in ALL municipalities, schools continue to operate in person and secondary school and higher education students return to face-to-face education – as in the rest of the Portuguese continent – because “measures relating to the education system will always be measures of national scope”, said António Costa.
Within his announcement, António Costa emphasised that these restrictions “are neither prizes nor punishments” , but “measures adopted for the safety of the populations themselves”, appropriate to the situation of the pandemic in these territories.
“This means that in these municipalities we will have to continue, as we have done until now, to test more and more, identify positive cases, establish the transmission chains, isolate the group of people who have been in contact with positive cases, in a way as soon as possible we can contain the pandemic in these counties and [so] they can join what is the rule in the country as a whole, [where] fortunately the pandemic is controlled and that is why we can move on, “he said.
Costa also drew attention to 13 other municipalities that, “having their incidence rate higher than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants for the first time, must pay particular attention to the way they control the pandemic in the next 15 days”.
They are Aljezur , Almeirim, Barrancos, Mêda, Miranda do Corvo, Miranda do Douro, Olhão , Paredes, Penalva do Castelo, Resende, Valongo, Vila Franca de Xira and Vila Nova de Famalicão.
“I particularly call your attention to those who are more populous – the case of Vila Franca de Xira, the case of Valongo, the case of Vila Nova de Famalicão. They are very populous municipalities and, therefore, this incidence rate has a particular risk ”, he stressed.
On the other hand, there are eight other municipalities that 15 days ago had an incidence rate higher than 100 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, but had a positive evolution and “can fully enter the next phase of deflation”.
They are the municipalities of Borba, Cinfães, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Lagoa , Ribeira de Pena, Soure, Vila do Bispo and Vimioso.
The executive’s deconfination plan foresees four phases of reopening – two have already advanced on March 15th and April 5th, the next will be on Monday, April 19th, and the last on May 3rd.
Next Monday, April 19th,for most of the 278 municipalities on the continent, all stores and shopping centers, cinemas, theaters, auditoriums and theaters, and citizen’s offices will be reopened by appointment.
Medium-risk sports and outdoor physical activity for up to six people also return, and outdoor events are permitted with reduced capacity, with weddings and baptisms allowed with 25% of the respective reception capacity.
Restaurants and cafes also reopen, but with a maximum of four people at the tables inside or six per table outside – opening until 22:00 on weekdays or 13:00 on weekends and holidays.
The measures are being constantly reviewed, to monitor if Portugal exceeds 120 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus per 100 thousand inhabitants in 14 days, or if the transmissibility index (Rt) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus exceeds 1.
Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/