ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY THE PRIME MINISTER
The Prime Minister, António Costa, spoke to the country at 18h00 today and announced the new measures to be adopted in the context of the state of emergency, which was renewed until 8 December.
One of these will be the ban on movement between municipalities on forthcoming public holidays, more precisely between 23h00 on 27 November and 05h00 on 2 December and between 23h00 on 4 December and 05h00 on 9 December.
The suspension of school activities on the eve of the public holidays of 30 November and 7 December has also been determined, and there will be a point tolerance in the Civil Service on these days, so that we can have “the quietest possible month of December,” announced António Costa.
17 municipalities will be removed from the list of risk municipalities: Aljustrel, Alvaiázere, Beja, Borba, Caldas da Rainha, Carrazeda de Ansiães, Ferreira do Alentejo, Fornos de Algodres, Golegã, Santa Comba Dão, São Brás de Alportel, Sousel, Tábua, Tavira, Vila Real de Santo António, Vila Velha de Ródão, and Vila Flor.
The “risk map” in Portugal, which meets European criteria, is now divided into four levels: “extremely high risk”, within which there are now 47 municipalities; “very high risk”, with 80 municipalities; “high risk”, with 86 municipalities and, finally, “moderate risk”, with 65 municipalities.
In the “high risk” municipalities, where there are more than 240 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the ban on circulation between 23h00 and 05h00 will be maintained and the monitoring of teleworking will be intensified, which according to the Prime Minister is not being carried out in all places where it is compulsory.
“Where telework is compulsory, it will be respected,” said the head of government, adding that the minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, has already given authorization for “effective actions to verify compliance with this obligation [of telework].
In those municipalities it will also be mandatory to close commercial establishments by 22h00 and restaurants and cultural facilities by 22h30.
For “very high and extremely high risk” municipalities, with more than 480 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, additional measures will be taken. On Saturdays, Sundays and the public holidays on 1 and 8 December, circulation on the streets will be banned and commercial establishments will have to close between 13h00 and 5h00.
Still in these places, it will be obligatory to close commercial establishments from 15h00 on the eve of holidays (30 of November and 7 of December).
António Costa stressed that the list is dynamic and will be reviewed every 15 days, in line with the review of the state of emergency. “In the coming months, the measures to be adopted will be modelled so that they adjust as best as possible to the effective reality in each municipality,” he explained.
The general measures applicable to the entire national territory will be maintained, in particular the mandatory use of the mask on the public highway and in a number of enclosed spaces. The novelty is that, from now on, masks will also be compulsory in workplaces, except when workstations are isolated or when there is physical separation between different workstations.
“Also at work viruses are transmitted and also at work the mask protects against virus transmission”, explained António Costa.
- Use of compulsory mask in the workplace, except in situations where distance can be maintained.
- Movement between municipalities is prohibited between 23h00 on 27 November and 05h00 on 2 December and between 24h00 on 4 December and 05h00 on 9 December, except for exceptions already applied during the weekend.
- Schools will be closed on 30 November and 7 December. On these days civil servants have a point tolerance and private companies are recommended to lay off workers on these days.
Measures for municipalities with more than 240 cases per 100,000 inhabitants:
- Compulsory curfew from 23h to 5h.
- Enforcement of compulsory teleworking.
- Closed shops by 22h00, restaurants and cultural facilities closed by 22h30.
In municipalities with more than 480 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants:
- Ban on circulation on the streets and closure of shops between 23h00 and 05h00 on weekends and public holidays (1 and 8 December).
- Closure of shops from 15h00 on 30 November and 7 December.
Economic support measures
The prime minister also announced economic support measures due to the state of emergency. The Apoiar.pt programme, worth 1,550 million Euros, will be one of them, with predicted loans of 750 million Euros and 160 million Euros in non-repayable funds.
Other economic support measures will be immediate access to Progressive Resumption Support as well as the postponement of social security and VAT payments on a quarterly basis.
Support to restaurants will be maintained in all municipalities where restrictions to activity are maintained, i.e. those with more than 240 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Next week there will be a reduction in commercial rents.
The measures were announced by the Prime Minister at the end of the extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting. António Costa began his speech with a thank you to all the Portuguese for the effort they are making yet another weekend, “sacrificing their freedom”, and also reminding all those to whom the measures are financially damaging, namely those working in catering and trade.
Incidence rate “extremely worrying”
The leader stressed that the number of new COVID-19 cases in the country remains “extremely worrying,” although week after week since mid-October there has been a consecutive drop.
“However, these results are still insufficient. We still have a lot of work to do to achieve the desired result,” he warned.
António Costa stressed that we have to persist to reverse the growth of new cases and “crush this extremely high incidence rate” and that it represents “a threat to everyone’s health, to the functioning of the NHS and is a very tough challenge for all health professionals who are doing their best to cure patients who are already infected”.
At the end of his speech, already in response to journalists, the Prime Minister rejected the dichotomy between opening up the economy and combating the COVID-19 epidemic and said that his government is united around a vision of balance on the measures to be adopted.
Asked about the clash of views between advocates of the primacy of the economy and sectors that want absolute priority in combating the health crisis, the executive leader replied: “There is no such dichotomy”.
Yellow municipalities (240 and 479 cases per hundred thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days)
- Álcacer do Sal
- Alfândega da Fé
- Arcos de Valdevez
- Arruda dos Vinhos
- Cabeceiras de Basto
- Campo Maior
- Carrazeda de Ansiães
- Castelo Branco
- Ferreira do Alentejo
- Fornos de Algodres
- Macedo de Cavaleiros
- Miranda do Corvo
- Miranda do Douro
- Mondim de Basto
- Oliveira de Frades
- Oliveira do Bairro
- Pampilhosa da Serra
- Penalva do Castelo
- Ponte de Sor
- Reguengos de Monsaraz
- Ribeira da Pena
- Rio Maior
- Salvaterra de Magos
- Santa Comba Dão
- São Brás de Alportel
- São Pedro do Sul
- Sobral de Monte Agraço
- Viana do Alentejo
- Viana do Castelo
- Vila do Bispo
- Vila Flor
- Vila Nova de Paiva
- Vila Real de Santo António
- Vila Velha de Ródão
- Vila Verde
Orange municipalities (between 480 and 959 cases per hundred thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days)
- Castelo de Paiva
- Castro Daire
- Celorico da Beira
- Celorico de Basto
- Figueira da Foz
- Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo
- Paredes de Coura
- Peso da Régua
- Ponte de Lima
- Póvoa de Lanhoso
- Póvoa de Varzim
- Santa Maria da Feira
- Santa Marta de Penaguião
- Torre de Moncorvo
- Vale de Cambra
- Vieira do Minho
- Vila do Conde
- Vila Franca de Xira
- Vila Nova de Cerveira
- Vila Nova de Foz Côa
- Vila Nova de Gaia
- Vila Pouca de Aguiar
- Vila Real
- Vila Viçosa
Red municipalities (over 960 cases per thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days)
- Freixo de Espada à Cinta
- Marco de Canaveses
- Oliveira de Azeméis
- Paços de Ferreira
- Santo Tirso
- São João da Madeira
- Sever do Vouga
- Vila Nova de Famalicão