The clarification was provided today by the Secretary of State for Commerce, Services and Consumer Protection, who has stated that if these establishments serve meals, they will have to follow the same rules applied to restaurants. "The extension of schedules in very high-risk municipalities is for restaurants and similar establishments, can now also operate from 3:30pm to 10:30pm. Additionally, it is not necessary for a citizen to show a certificate or negative test when they have finished eating and wish to have a coffee.", explained João Torres. The governor warned, however, that "knowing that in Portugal there are many similar establishments that can serve meals, the rules [of access with digital certificate and negative test] may apply".
João Torres traveled today to Matosinhos, in the district of Porto, to monitor the application of the new legislation in restaurants and promote informal meetings with entrepreneurs in the sector, considering that the measures that came into force today "are balanced". "They allow us to continue to care for public health, because we will be better able to break the transmission chains, but also lift the hourly restrictions of these establishments in very high-risk municipalities, where weekly there are more municipalities to enter this category", he analyzed. The Secretary of State also explained that the measures do not apply to the frequency of eating outside, to the use of the sanitary facilities of the establishments or to the movement to the interior to make the payments.
João Torres added that "in shopping centers, and with the necessary adaptations, the measures will be applied to 'food courts'". The governor acknowledged that "in the early moments there will be a need to clarify doubts and to adapt", but was convinced that “these measures will be very effective in being used in everyday life". "I am convinced that the majority of entrepreneurs and citizens will continue to comply with the rules of public health and safety. We are in a moment that inspires care, but we call for collective accountability. I assume that the majority of citizens will continue to comply with the rules," he said. The governor highlighted the openness to continue talking to entrepreneurs and associations in the restaurant sector, who have raised doubts and criticism about the measures, but recalled that to control the pandemic it is necessary to make "difficult choices". "The alternative to not adopting such measures was perhaps the application of more restrictive measures. I recognize that at first there will be a need for adaptation, but the Government is always close to entrepreneurs and ready to cooperate", stressed the Secretary of State for Trade, Services and Consumer Protection.
The president of the Association of Restaurants of Matosinhos, Rui Sousa Dias, who accompanied the visit of the ruler, also shared the need for adaptation to the new measures, but was expectant about the reaction of consumers. "We hope people will be available to adapt. Between closing or following the new rules, I believe that with this formula we will have more opportunities to do business. We will be aware of the result and sensitize people, because we are also interested in working safely for customers and our teams", said the entrepreneur. Rui Sousa Dias admitted, however, not believing "that restaurants are the biggest focus of the problem" of contagion and, even recognizing that the application of the new rules "is not ideal and will slow the movement", he anticipated that "if the situation of covid improves, the faster the recovery of the sector will happen".
Since today at 3:30pm, restaurants in high or very high-risk municipalities (currently 60 of the 278 municipalities on the continent) require digital certificate or negative covid-19 tests for eating inside establishments. The digital certificate or negative test is required for customers from 7pm on Friday and on weekends and holidays. There are four types of accepted tests: PCR and antigen with laboratory result (contemplated in the digital certificate covid-19) and also self-tests performed in person (at the entrance of the establishment) or before a health professional (in pharmacies, for example).
Portugal has today recorded an additional 3,162 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection, six deaths attributed to covid-19 and an increase in inpatients in hospital and intensive care, according to data from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS). According to the DGS epidemiological bulletin, most of the new infections were recorded in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region, with 1,407, and the country now has a total of 44,006 active cases.