Europe was badly hit by COVID-19, and for some time become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.
Following Italy, Spain and France, Portugal declared a state of emergency on 19 March, involving restrictions on movement. The lockdown was extended until 2 May. After that, Portugal began relaxing some restrictions while extending others, such as making face masks mandatory in crowded, closed spaces such as public transport, supermarkets and stores.
With declines in death and infection rates, many visitors are now wondering: what is the current situation and when will it be safe to travel to Lisbon and Portugal?
After the State of Emergency in Portugal
Sweeping changes to ordinary life were already in place. By 16 March, Portugal closed all schools, limited public gatherings, banned all public events, and shuttered all non-essential stores. Many companies put employees working from home.
On 4 May, Portugal began partially easing its lockdown. Hairdressers and other small businesses outside shopping malls were allowed to reopen. Car dealerships and bookstores, regardless of size, were also allowed to open up.
Larger shops outside malls followed on 18 May, and cafés and restaurants opened at half capacity. Schools also returned but only for 10-12th grade students (15-18 years old).
The final stage will happen on 1 June when shopping malls will be permitted to open, as well as theatres at reduced capacity. Kindergartens and pre-school services will also return.
Portugal’s border restrictions were extended until 15 June. Except for citizens and foreign residents to return home, all travellers outside the EU are banned from entering the country.
As of 4 May, face masks are mandatory in crowded, closed spaces such as public transport, supermarkets, stores, and schools. Throughout May, companies should continue to have employees working from home, whenever possible. The Portuguese government reserves the right to adjust its dates.
The full breakdown of Portugal’s lockdown exit plan is as follows:
- Small shops (below 200sq m) outside shopping malls
- Hairdressers and similar by appointment only
- Car dealerships and bookstores, regardless of size
- Gatherings of up to 10 people
- Shops (below 400sq m) outside malls
- Indoor service in restaurants, bars and cafés at half capacity
- Schools for 10-12th grade students
- Museums, monuments, palaces, and art galleries, at reduced capacity
- Retail stores in malls (except in Lisbon, reopening postponed a few days)
- Shops larger than 400sq m outside malls
- Theatres at reduced capacity