At the end of the Council of Ministers, which approved the measures to be put in place during the state of emergency and will be in place between 00:00 on 9 December and 23:59 on 23 December, Prime Minister António Costa said that the measures relating to the Christmas and New Year period will be subject to evaluation on 18 December to confirm the trend of improvement of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Costa said that the Portuguese people have a “green light” to celebrate Christmas and New Year but warned that if the epidemiological situation worsens, the Government will not hesitate to “put on the handbrake”.
“I have to be frank and speak clearly and truthfully to the Portuguese: If things do not continue to go as they have done, if things change radically, if we have an exponential growth of the epidemic again, we will have to apply the handbrake”, said António Costa.
António Costa announced that the Government intends to ease the restrictions during the Christmas and New Year period if the current trend of reducing the transmissibility rate continues.
“I do not want to define a red line here and I want to insist that it is within our reach to have a green light for Christmas through continuing to comply with the rules over the next fortnight in the same way as we have complied in the last 15 days”, he added.
The details of the proposed festive lockdown measures are stated below, although these are subject to change according to the decision of the government on 18 December.
- Movement between municipalities allowed between 23 and 26 DecemberCouncils of “extremely high risk”, “very high risk” and “high risk”
- On 23 December curfew is maintained between 1am and 5am, except “for people who are travelling”.
- On 24 and 25 December the curfew will only be from 2am until 5am.
- On 26 December (Saturday) the public road ban will only come into force at 11pm.
- On 24 and 25 December, and regardless of their location, restaurants may operate until 1am (public access is excluded for new admissions at 00:00) and the closing times for cultural establishments do not apply.
- On 26 December, restaurant establishments may operate, for meals in the establishment, until 3:30pm.
- Movement between municipalities is prohibited between 00:00 on 31 December 2020 and 5am on 4 January 2021, “except for reasons of health, extreme urgency or other specifically provided for”.
- Public festivities or celebrations open to the public of a non-religious nature are forbidden on 31 December and 1 January 2021.
- According to the Prime Minister, on New Year’s Eve “gatherings in public of more than six people” are not allowed.
- On 31 December the ban on public transport only comes into force at 2am.
- On January 1, 2021, the curfew enters into force at 11pm.
- On New Year’s Eve, restaurants and similar establishments, regardless of their location, may close by 1am (public access is excluded for new admissions at 00:00).
- On 1 January, in “extremely high risk” and “very high risk” councils, catering establishments and similar establishments may only operate, for meal service in the establishment itself, until 3.30pm.