Lisbon, 16 April 2020 (Lusa) – The draft decree of the President of the Republic that extends the state of emergency until May 2 provides for the possibility of a “gradual, phased or alternate opening of services, companies or commercial establishments”.
In the explanatory memorandum of the diploma he sent today to the Assembly of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa points out that, “due to the evolution of the data and considering the experience in other European countries, the possibility of future gradual, phased reactivation is now foreseen, alternating and differentiated services, companies and establishments “.
According to the head of state, this “gradual reactivation” may take place “with possible openings with adapted operating hours, by sectors of activity, by size of the company in terms of employment, the area of the commercial establishment or its geographical location, with adequate monitoring “.
In the item of the diploma referring to the partial suspension of the exercise of the right to property and private economic initiative, it is read that “different criteria can be defined, namely with possible openings with operating hours adapted, by activity sectors, by company size in terms of employment, the area of the establishment or its geographical location, for the gradual, phased or alternate opening of services, companies or commercial establishments “.
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Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has already sent the third declaration of the state of emergency to Parliament, which restores some labour rights and allows for the celebration of the 1st of May, although with restrictions.
This third renewal of the state of emergency, to be approved by Parliament, will be in force until May 2nd.
In this third decree of the state of emergency, in which the end of mandatory confinement begins to be foreseen, it is established that people’s mobility restrictions may be greater or less depending on the age or place of residence, which, “without discriminatory nature, are appropriate to the epidemiological situation and justified by the need to reduce the risk of contagion and implement measures to prevent and combat the epidemic”.
Thus, the possibility of compulsory confinement continues to be foreseen, as well as the establishment of sanitary fences, but mobility restrictions are beginning to lift, which are no longer justified by professional activity, the need for medical care or assistance to third parties. To what extent and for what reasons will be decided by the Government.
As for the restrictions on the right to the protection of personal data, everything remains as it was: the only limits imposed are for the Directorate-General for Health to send messages related to the pandemic via mobile phone to all citizens. No other restrictions were contemplated to allow any form of screening for infected or suspect persons.
In this third phase of the state of emergency, economic activities are also beginning to see an opening, albeit with different criteria. The decree provides that there may be “adapted operating hours, by sectors of activity, by size of the company in terms of employment, the area of the establishment or its geographical location”, for the “gradual, phased or alternate opening of services, companies or commercial establishments ”.
The presidential decree also provides for the possibility of requesting services and using movable or immovable property, health care units, commercial and industrial establishments, companies and other production units, if deemed necessary by the authorities.
It is also foreseen that any company may be forced to open, close or change its activity, changing the quantity, nature or price of goods produced and traded, providing as well that these goods may be acquired by the State by direct agreement.
The possibility of restrictions on dismissals, price control and combating speculation or hoarding of certain products or materials is maintained. The right to restore the financial balance of concessions or services due to a breach in the use of concessioned goods resulting from the measures adopted in the context of the state of emergency also remains limited.
Workers’ rights are practically unchanged from previous decrees, with the suspension of the right to strike remaining when compromising “essential” services or structures. The right to participate in the drafting of labour legislation, which was suspended, is now limited only “insofar as the exercise of such right may represent a delay in the entry into force of urgent legislative measures”.
Any act of active or passive resistance exclusively directed to legitimate orders issued by the competent public authorities in execution of the present state of emergency is also prevented, and the perpetrators may incur, under the terms of the law, a crime of disobedience.
The Council of Ministers are meeting to determine the new measures of the state of emergency, which are not expected to be very different from those that were already in force, and there may be such nuances with regard to the sectors of activity. Parliament will also debate and approve the new state of emergency decree this afternoon.