With countries around the world opening back up and desperately seeking a ‘return to normalcy’, it’s difficult to know the exact path forward. In Portugal, home of 15 differing compliments from the international press for her handling of the pandemic thus far, a very careful plan has been put together.
As reported in Portugal Resident on April 30, 2020 the transition from ‘State of Emergency’ to ‘State of Calamity’ began on Monday May 4, with the reopening of:
Local commerce (small local shops and businesses, involving premises of less than 200 sq metres). These, we have subsequently learned, include service operations like opticians, dentists etc, all requiring special measures (particularly the wearing of masks).
Bookshops and outlets dealing with the automobile industry, including driving schools.
Hairdressers, barbers, beauty salons (manicure, pedicure, waxing etc) – by appointment only, and with clients using masks
Libraries, archives and parks
Public services: Finanças/ Conservatórios/ Social Security offices, again by appointment only and clients using masks
The tentative timeline depends on the number of infections seen in the next few weeks; however, if all goes well, May 18 will see the reopening of:
Restaurants, cafés and pastelarias – albeit under strict regulations regarding hygiene and running at 50% capacity
Shops of up to 400 sq m
Museums, monuments, palaces, art galleries etc
Schools, again under strict rules of hygiene, for 11th and 12th year pupils taking national exams this year. The idea here is for pupils and teachers to wear masks at all times, and have timetables that run from 10am to 5pm, so as to reduce any pressure on public transports which are also running to strict regulations of social distancing and requiring all passengers to wear masks
Creches for those children whose parents feel comfortable enough for them to return to this social environment. Parents not comfortable will be able to continue looking after their children at home with the benefit of State support until the end of the month
The infographic (in separate pictures below) details all information relevant to the timeline.
Also, for now it looks as though the border with Spain is still closed indefinitely, with the original ‘hopeful’ date of May 15, 2020 seeming impossible.
In other news, on April 3, 2020, it was reported that the Prime Minister had hinted at a minimised reliance upon China for products that Portugal herself has the possibility to produce. As of May 3, 2020, it appears that Portugal has put significant effort behind that statement by internalising production of masks (1 million per day) and alcohol gel, a prime example that the Portuguese spirit remains one of overcoming adversity through self-reliance. It’s a positive sign of the approach the government (and people of Portugal) will likely take in the coming years of transition. However, as with all circumstances surrounding this pandemic, things are still developing.
Wishing you and your loved ones safety and security.