Translation by Safe Communities volunteer Eliana Tavares

António Costa spoke to the country this Saturday at 15h00 and announced the measures decided in the Council of Ministers for the forthcoming festive period. At Christmas, travel between municipalities will be allowed, but in the New Year this restriction remains in place.

The Prime Minister began by saying that measures to circulation on public roads would remain in force for the next 15 days from 13h00 on Saturday and Sunday in municipalities at extreme and very high risk.

For the Christmas and New Year period, however, exceptions will be adopted, subject to evaluation on 18 December to confirm that the trend of improvement in the pandemic situation is confirmed and that it will not be necessary to “pull the emergency brake,” announced the head of government.

The main exception for Christmas will be the permission to travel between municipalities on 23, 24, 25 and 26 December. In addition, on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day you can circulate on public roads until 02h00. The Government advises that at Christmas families should avoid meeting many people, avoid spending too much time without a mask and prefer open and ventilated spaces.

Another exception for Christmas will be the restaurant opening hours. On the nights of 24th and 25th December they can be open until 01h00 and on the 26th they can serve lunch until 15h30.

In the New Year the exceptions will not be as comprehensive. Movement between municipalities is prohibited between 00h00 on 31 December and 05h00 on 4 January.

The only relaxation will be on New Year’s Eve, when movement on the public road is now allowed until 02h00. On January 1st, however, it will be changed to 23h00.

No public parties or open to the public will be allowed on New Year’s Eve, nor gatherings on the public road with more than six people.

Restaurants can be open on the evening of 31 December until 01h00 and on the first day of 2021 they can serve until 15h30.

The prime minister explained that the government’s strategy was to extend the restriction measures until Christmas, and then to reduce them on 24, 25 December and 1 January, returning to the level of restrictions.

At the press conference after the meeting of the Council of Ministers in which the measures to implement the new state of emergency were announced, António Costa called on families to “avoid fraternisation with many people”, long periods without masks and “in closed spaces, small or not very ventilated”.

“It must be a sharing Christmas”, he said, but “it must not be a time of involuntary transmission of the virus”. “May we all be effectively safe as a family,” the Prime Minister said. “Let us not share the virus. That cannot be our Christmas gift”. António Costa explained that it was vital to maintain the effort so that “the goal of reaching Christmas with as few infected people as possible” could be achieved since “the less infected people are, the lower the risk of transmission”.

By November, the executive had already divided the continent’s 278 municipalities into four groups, depending on the level of risk of transmission: moderate, high, very high and extremely high.

According to António Costa, there are 27 municipalities at very high or high risk which, due to a “frankly positive development in the last fortnight”, have changed to moderate, while another 12 come out of the extremely high level and two come out of the very high level.

They are: Abrantes, Albufeira, Barquinha, Batalha, Benavente, Cadaval, Campo Maior, Constância, Coruche, Estremoz, Idanha-a-Nova, Mangualde, Mora, Nazaré, Monforte, Oliveira de Frades, Paredes de Coura, Ponte de Sor, Porto de Mós, Proença-a-Nova, Redondo, Ribeira de Pena, Salvaterra de Magos, São João da Pesqueira, Tondela, Viana do Alentejo and Vila Nova da Vila Viçosa.

António Costa stressed the need to maintain the measures that have been applied in these territories for the next 15 days.

Source: RTP


In sum:

Following the renewal of the State of Emergency decreed by the President of the Republic, the Council of Ministers approved the decree regulating the measures to be adopted, throughout the continental territory, in the period between 00h00 on 9 December 2020 and 23h59 on 23 December, as well as the measures applicable considering the possible renewal of the State of Emergency.

The decree essentially maintains the current rules and establishes special measures for the Christmas and New Year periods. The government has therefore decided:

  • To maintain the rules currently in force, as well as the staggering of their application according to the risk of transmission of Covid-19 in each municipality – moderate, high, very high and extreme. It should be noted that the ban on circulating on public roads will continue to apply on the weekends of 12-13 and 19-20 December from 13h00 in municipalities at very high and extreme risk.
  • Update the list of at-risk municipalities and their distribution over the different levels.
  • On 18 December, review the risk map and re-evaluate the epidemiological situation in each county, if necessary worsening the measures.

For the Christmas period:

  • Circulation between municipalities:
  • Circulation on public roads:
    • Night from 23 to 24: allowed only for those who are travelling;
    • Days 24 and 25: allowed until 02h00 the following day;
    • Day 26: permitted until 23h00.
  • Opening hours:
    • On the nights of 24 and 25, restaurants are allowed to operate until 01h00.
    • On the 26th, restaurants are allowed to operate until 15h30 in very high and extreme risk municipalities.
    • On the 24th and 25th the closing times do not apply to cultural establishments.


  • For the New Year period:
    • Circulation between municipalities:
      • Prohibited between 00h00 on 31 December and 05h00 on 4 January.
    • Movement on public roads:
      • New Year’s Eve: allowed until 02h00;
      • 1 January: allowed until 23h00.
    • Opening hours:
      • On the evening of the 31st, operation of restaurants allowed until 01h00.
      • On the 1st January, restaurants are allowed to operate until 15h30 in very high and extreme risk municipalities.
    • Public parties or parties open to the public are forbidden.
    • No street gatherings with more than 6 people.


The Government also decided to recommend avoiding:

  • Gathering a lot of people;
  • Spending long periods without a mask on;
  • Closed, small and not very ventilated spaces.