At a press conference, ABZHP also called for the application of the current tobacco law to bars and clubs to be suspended until October 2022.

Referring to the petition, ABZHP leader Mário de Carvalho said that it aims for the support to the sector, granted for nine months during the pandemic period, be extended to a total of 18 months.

“We were closed all that time by decree but our expenses continued,” he said.

According to ABZHP, the petition entered the Assembly of the Republic in March and the grounds were unanimously accepted by the Parliamentary Committee on Economy. Now they are waiting for a party to propose, in a Conference of Leaders, the scheduling of its discussion.

“It is crucial that one of the parties proposes the schedule. Otherwise, we run the risk of all the work we have done so far ending up in the bin”, said the president of ABZHP, António Fonseca.

He added that this same scheduling request will now be formalised in writing to all parliamentary groups.

In an allusion to the application of the tobacco law of 2020 in night establishments - this law is still in force and hyper-restrictive -, ABZHP justified the request for suspension until October 2022 due to the financial difficulties facing the sector and considering investment needs that may go up to €20,000.

The satisfaction of this request would also result in the postponement of the application of the draft ordinance, which was under public debate and whose application should take place from January 2022, said the ABZHP leaders.

“We are not against the spirit of the law, we have always been in favour of it, but it is a complicated time”, due to the pandemic, “when entrepreneurs struggle to survive and cannot make investments”, they stressed.

This project aims to restrict the spaces of establishments that have at least 100 square meters in area dedicated to customers and a minimum ceiling height of three meters.

It also provides that in places where smoking is allowed “there must be ventilation systems made up of extraction equipment” and that a ventilation efficiency “greater than 90%” must be guaranteed.

The Government also wants these spaces dedicated to those who smoke not to exceed 20% of the area of ​​establishments.