Without registering any relevant setbacks, the Government decided to move on to the second phase of the deconfination plan with new steps to reopen as of next April 5th.At the end of the Council of Ministers that approved the new measures for the reopening of the economy and society, the Prime Minister began by pointing out that the country remains in the green quadrant of the risk matrix that governs the progress of the deflation.
This is because there was a “positive evolution” at the level of new cases of covid-19 per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days, which decreased from 118 to 62.4 and because even the criterion related to the transmissibility index (Rt, currently at 0 , 94), which despite having “been accelerating” and being “heading for the yellow zone”, persists below the limit of 1, so “we can take the step of advancing in the measures of deflation planned for 5 of April”. However, given that the entire continental territory is advancing to the second phase of reopening, there are 19 municipalities at greatest risk for having more than 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in 14 days, six of which are even above the level of 240 new ones. cases. Given the experts’ recommendation to take into account the “different situation in the country as a whole”, António Costa sends a second assessment to these municipalities in two weeks time, which will imply that in high-risk municipalities do not advance the measures of lack of definition related to the third phase.
In these 19 counties, Costa hopes that there will be a redoubled effort by health authorities and mayors to “identify, isolate and track contagion chains in order to contain these risks” and to ensure that within 15 days they can “move forward with the country for the subsequent phase “.
Still regarding the municipalities, “one of the important changes” signaled by the Executive leader is the cessation of the “ban on movement between municipalities, whether at weekdays or at weekends”. In other words, the ban on movement between municipalities ends after the next weekend, which restriction continues until Monday, inclusive.As for the assessment of the deflation, António Costa guaranteed that it will continue to be done “every 15 days”, that “no interim measure will be taken” and that the deflation schedule is to be maintained.
Asked whether the Government is preparing a plan to apply after the last phase of the reopening plan, scheduled for May 3, the PS general secretary declined to clarify, limiting himself to asking for unity to “comply with the defined program” with caution and “step by step” and to consider it as “fundamental” to maintain attention to the “evolution of the two indicators” that make it possible to advance, halt or even retreat in the lack of definition due to the evolution of the pandemic.
However, despite the limit set at 120 for new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants and 1 for Rt, António Costa rejects watertight readings and commits himself to a grading of measures, since “one thing is to have [um Rt de] 1.1 or 1.5 “.
Terraces with meals, gyms without classes
As foreseen in the calendar known on March 11, in this second phase, the classroom activities for the 2nd and 3rd teaching cycles will be resumed, as well as the ATL for this age group. Social facilities for the disabled and day care centers will also be reopened starting next Monday.
With regard to catering, establishments with terraces can open and also serve meals, but with a limit of four people per group (or table). In addition to that “even on the terrace we must maintain all precautions”, stressed the Chief Executive, calling for the use of the mask during conversations on the terraces to “avoid risks of transmission”.
Stores with doors facing the street and up to 200 square meters “no longer have to sell to the wicket and can receive people, in person, according to the capacity defined by the Directorate-General for Health”. Fairs and uprising markets can also be held for “commercialization of non-food goods” (those for food goods already had authorization), provided that with the proper authorization of the municipalities in question.
Super and hypermarkets will be able to start selling the same goods that can now be sold by other street establishments such as clothes and toys.
There is an open route for the practice of outdoor sports activities and considered to be of low risk, but limited to groups of up to four people, while the gymnasiums can reopen although group classes are still prevented.
In the Culture sector, it will be possible to visit museums, monuments, art galleries and palaces, however it is still forbidden to hold events with audiences such as concerts.
Hotels and driving schools remain closed, Costa explained after a question from journalists.
Costa calls for “effort to avoid unhappy Easter”
Still scorched by what happened at Christmas, António Costa made a point of “remembering that until the end of the 5th day, measures to prohibit movement between municipalities remain in force and that we must avoid all socializing that goes beyond the people with whom we live”. He therefore called for an additional “effort” capable of “preventing this Easter from being an unhappy Easter”. Therefore, and to avoid any hiccups, Costa suggests that “the traditional Easter lunch should really be avoided”.
He also thanked the Portuguese for the way “they have collectively managed to control this pandemic” and for the fact that the country, in this third wave, managed, with “great sacrifice, but also determination and persistence”, to stop having the worst situation pandemic in the world to become the second best in the European space, only behind Iceland.
Border controls unchanged
Border control will continue and changes will be introduced to “facilitate connections”, only in relation to countries that, like Portugal, faced the third wave earlier. In relation to Brazil, flights will be resumed, but with the obligation to carry out “tests” and to apply “quarantine measures”.Regarding the land border with Spain, it will remain closed (with the exceptions already known).
Faced with the situations of Portuguese who are prevented from moving between municipalities but who take vacations in the autonomous regions of Madeira or the Azores, Costa recalled that regional governments have “total autonomy” to decide restrictive measures, with “no restriction of between the continent and the autonomous regions “.
What changes from Monday?
Students up to the 9th grade return to school
The schools will reopen for face-to-face teaching of students in the 2nd and 3rd cycle of basic education this Monday, the 5th. They will also open, as planned, free time activities (ATL) for the same ages, social facilities in the area of disabilities and day care centers.
It is possible to move between municipalities
The Government will allow movement between municipalities in the coming weekends. Circulation limitations end at 11:59 pm on April 5. “The ban on movement between municipalities ceases. Be it at weekends or at weekends,” said António Costa.
Gyms reopen without group classes
They can reopen various sports equipment, such as gyms and gyms, but without group classes. The return of shooting fields, tennis and paddle courts, permanent circuits of motorcycles and automobiles, velodromes, racetracks and even athletics tracks and golf courses is also planned.
Terraces limited to four people
The terraces can resume operation, with a maximum capacity of four people per table. They are authorized to serve lunches and dinners, until 10:30 pm during the week and until 1:00 pm on weekends and holidays.
Shops only under 200 meters
Shops with less than 200 square meters can now be reopened and the street is open. Unlike last year, larger stores cannot be reopened, even if they limit the space open to the public. The store capacity is maintained at five people per 100 square meters.
Museums and monuments with open doors
As of this Monday, it is already possible to visit museums, monuments, palaces and archaeological sites, as well as art galleries and exhibition halls. The equipment closes at 10:30 pm on weekdays and at 1:00 pm on weekends and holidays.
Fairs and markets with municipal authorization
The reopening of fairs and markets for non-food products is allowed, but only with the authorization of the respective mayor.
Highest-risk counties under surveillance
Although in this second phase the relief of restrictions is applied throughout the continental territory, António Costa warned that the 19 counties that are above the level of 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days will be under surveillance. If these municipalities remain above the risk limit defined by the Government in the next reevaluation, within 15 days, “private measures” will be adopted in the third phase of deconfiguration, scheduled for April 19. The eventual exclusion of any of the envisaged measures may also apply in neighboring counties, which currently number 64.
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