State of contingency: what changes in Portugal on September 15th

115costa contingencyNew rules to avoid crowds on public transport during rush hour, with different times for entering and leaving and for breaks and meals, as well as the rotation between telework and face-to-face work. This is one of the new measures being pushed for by the government as of the 15th of this month to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Regional rapid intervention brigades will be set up for the elderly, with nurses and diagnostic technicians ready to act in homes that present suspected cases. These are some of the main measures presented by António Costa at the end of the Council of Ministers today, announcing the approval of a new set of rules for the state of contingency into which the country will enter from Tuesday next week, the 15th.

General rules for the whole country:

-Meetings of more than 10 people are forbidden and more restrictive rules are imposed on the opening hours of commercial establishments: the closing hours that have been in force in the Lisbon region will be applied countrywide.

-Commercial establishments cannot open before 10am (with exceptions);

-Closing hours of establishments can be between 8 pm and 11 pm, subject to municipal decision;

-Shopping centre catering areas will have a maximum limit of 4 people per group;

-Prohibition on selling alcoholic beverages at service stations and, after 8 pm, in all establishments (except with meals);

-Prohibition of consumption of alcoholic beverages on public roads.

Back to school:

-Limitation of four people per group in cafes and pastry shops within proximity (300m) of schools;

-Return in person classes, between 14 and 17 September;

-Upgrading the functioning of schools to the new health-orientated reality;

-Individual contingency plans in all schools;

-Distribution of PPE (masks, visors, etc.);

-Plans of action in the case of suspected, positive cases or outbreaks;

Covid-19 control in care homes:

-One measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in homes, one of the biggest concerns of the moment, is the creation of district emergency brigades with nurses and diagnostic technicians. These groups will work to contain and stabilize outbreaks in homes.


-The return of the public to stadiums and other sports venues will not be happening any time soon. Graça Freitas, the Director-General for Health had announced so at her last press conference, to the annoyance of many.


-Measures to avoid crowds on public transport and in the workplaces in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto, such as delays in the arrival and departure times (in individual schools and at workplaces);

-Planned rotations between telework and face-to-face work for different teams;

-Mandatory time lags.

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