PRIME MINISTER’S PRIORITY FOR NEXT 15 DAYS WHAT NEEDS TO COMMENCE IN MAY

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

The Prime Minister revealed yesterday afternoon in Parliament how the Government wants to get the economy moving again. It will only be in May. Until then, there are 15 decisive days to restore people’s confidence so that they can gradually return to the streets.

The goal is to “revive the economy, without letting the pandemic go uncontrolled”, explained the chief executive in a debate in which he challenged the Portuguese to take a vacation inside, and left the wish that this was the last debate to renew the state of emergency. Here is the executive’s strategy based on information left by António Costa.

 

What must be guaranteed in the next 15 days:

  • Make means of personal protection, such as community masks and alcohol-based gel, abundant on the market;
  • Have hygiene standards in workplaces, public spaces and, in particular, public transport. This is the “greatest logistical difficulty” the Government has to respond to, says Costa;
  • In the particular case of public transport, the executive wants to find ways of having “different schedules, having a new organization of work” that avoids creating rush hours, but also “increasing on the supply side” so that “everyone can safely begin using public transport again”;
  • Have the confidence that the robustness of the National Health Service (SNS) is able to support itself in the face of, “necessarily, an increased risk of transmission whenever we relieve the contention”.

 

What the Government wants to start doing in May:

  • Face-to-face classes, even if partial, in years 11 and 12;
  • Reopen day care centres to support families, many with income losses or increased effort when teleworking. The idea of reopening day care centres is not new, and had already been considered at the meeting with health technicians where the date of May 4 was proposed as a limit for resuming face-to-face classes. This is because the virus affects younger children very little. A study by the Escola Superior de Saúde Pública, presented this Wednesday at the meeting at Infarmed, revealed that other countries started by reopening schools with young children due to the “low risk of transmitting to many people: children of that age return home from school and have little social life independent of their parents. This has a high economic impact: parents can go back to work ”;
  • Open pre-school, at least during the beach/countryside period, so that children can get back together;
  • Restore the face-to-face service in the Public Administration services and end the suspension of procedural deadlines;
  • Gradually reopen the economic activities where the Government decreed the closure. Start with the small neighbourhood trade – “the one that brings fewer people together, requires less travel distance, which best serves the local economy”, explained Costa -, to then move on to “small shops with open doors to the street” and only reach the large commercial spaces after;
  • Set specific safety standards for professionals and users of personal care activities, such as hairdressers and barbers. The aim is to create conditions to have these services open;
  • Begin opening cultural facilities for those which have a fixed capacity and marked seating, to allow reopening with the necessary social distancing, “although it may be required, as in public transport and schools, to use a community mask”;
  • Create distancing rules for sports venues and open-air shows, similar to what will be done by the union centrals in the celebrations of the 1st of May and which the Church intends to guarantee in ceremonies;
  • Continue teleworking for those who can do it. These people will have greater freedom of movement to take their children to day care centres, use the shops that are gradually reopening, public transport and cultural facilities, even if they have to wear a mask. The Prime Minister considered teleworking essential, for instance to allow “the operation of public transport to run as smoothly as possible”.
  • The Government also wants to work with companies to find better ways of organising working time: “some working in the morning and others in the afternoon, some working a week and others another week”. The aim is to progressively free people from domestic confinement.

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