As the country’s vaccine rollout accelerates, helping to keep a recent increase of infections under control, Portugal announced a three-stage plan to eliminate COVID-19 limitations, including eliminating a night-time curfew.
The curfew will be removed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Sunday, as will limitations on restaurant and store opening hours, Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced during a press conference.
Fans will be allowed to return to athletic events under specific conditions that have yet to be determined, and while working remotely will still be encouraged, it will no longer be required.
“Vaccination has played a key role in (enabling) these measures… but we cannot overlook the reality that the virus continues to propagate…. the pandemic has not gone away,” Costa added.
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A new wave of COVID-19 infections hit Portugal early this month, returning to levels seen in February, when the nation was under quarantine to combat the world’s largest coronavirus outbreak.
However, daily fatalities and hospitalizations are still considerably below February levels, with new cases mostly involving younger, unvaccinated persons who are less likely to become critically ill.
As more individuals obtain their coronavirus vaccines, further limitations will be gradually eased over the following few months. Around half of the population has now been completely vaccinated, and anybody over the age of 18 may now schedule an appointment.
The mandatory wearing of masks in outdoor places will stop in the second phase of the plan, which begins in September when 70% of the population has been completely vaccinated, but will still be necessary in large gatherings. Indoors, masks will be required.
Nightclubs and bars that have been closed since March are scheduled to reopen the following month, although entry will need an EU digital certificate or a negative coronavirus test.
Staying in hotels, dining indoors at restaurants on weekends, and attending exercise group programs at the gym, spas, casinos, weddings, and major events all require a digital certificate or a negative test.
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