Restrictions to contain the covid-19 pandemic in the New Year period came into effect at 0:00 on Thursday and will remain in effect until Saturday, due to the worsening of the epidemiological situation and the recent increase in cases.
The measures, which were also in force on the 24th and 25th of December, were decided at the beginning of last week in an extraordinary Council of Ministers in which the Government also decided to anticipate the strategy for preventing and combating the pandemic defined about a month earlier, in light of the threat of the new omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
From this Thursday until the end of Saturday it will be mandatory the presentation of a negative test to enter restaurants, casinos and New Year’s Eve parties. on the public road are Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, as well as the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
The tightening of restrictions during the festive season comes in response to the worsening of the epidemiological situation due to the new omicron variant SARS-CoV-2, which is already dominant in Portugal, and at a time when the country registers new maximum daily infections (26,867 cases on Wednesday) and an exponential increase in the incidence and transmissibility rate.
For the next few days, the Government also recalls the recommendations given at Christmas, namely the incentive to carry out diagnostic tests, avoid encounters with a lot of people, in closed, small and poorly ventilated spaces and avoid being without a mask for too long.
In addition to the measures decreed by the Government, several municipalities have been canceling New Year’s Eve parties in public spaces.
The entire Azores archipelago has been in a contingency situation since Wednesday, and it is therefore mandatory to present a negative test to access social events and New Year’s Eve festivities on the nine islands (PCR carried out within 72 hours or antigen within 48 hours above), regardless of vaccination. The presence of the public is limited to three-quarters of the capacity of the space where the initiatives take place (in unique events or in clubs, which are open) and celebrations and gatherings on public streets are prohibited.
In Madeira, where hotel occupancy is around 90%, the festivities will take place without additional restrictions to those already in force since November, such as the obligation to present a negative antigen test (valid for one week) and a vaccination certificate to access to most public and private venues. In 2020, the Regional Government appealed to Madeirans to watch the traditional fireworks show at home and also defined 2,060 squares designed on the pavement in the most popular places, for a maximum of five people each, preferably family members, but this year this year measure does not apply.
In addition to the measures announced by the Council of Ministers specifically for the Christmas and New Year period, other restrictions have been in effect since December 25 on the continent, initially planned only for the first week of January, such as the return to obligatory telework, the closure of day care centers and leisure time workshops (ATL) and bars and clubs.
Until January 9, a negative test is also mandatory for access to hotels and local accommodation establishments, for business events and family parties, such as weddings or baptisms, and for sporting and cultural events, regardless of the number of spectators. The capacity of commercial spaces was limited to one person for every five square meters to avoid gatherings that take place the week after Christmas to exchange gifts.
Mainland Portugal has been in a state of calamity since December 1st due to the increase in the number of cases.
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New Year restrictions have already come into effect.