As COVID-19 spreads, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Europe the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, which means there are risks for those travelling to and within Europe.
Many visitors are now wondering: what is the current situation and when will it be safe to travel to Lisbon and Portugal?
Following Italy, Spain and France, as of 19 March Portugal has declared a two-week state of emergency that will run until 2 April, involving restrictions on movement.
Before that, Portugal had already blocked incoming flights from the EU, and closed the Spanish border for non-essential traffic. The US had also announced a travel ban from 26 European countries, including Portugal, to last 30 days.
State of Emergency in Portugal
Sweeping changes to ordinary life were already in place. As of 16 March, schools and universities have been closed, large gatherings have been prohibited, and many companies have put employees working from home.
The state of emergency brings tougher measures to fight the coronavirus, involving limits on movement.
To avoid unnecessary social contact, people are allowed to leave their homes only to buy food and medicine, commute to work (when working from home is not an option), go to hospitals and banks, take trips to care for the young and elderly, walk their pets, or exercise individually or with another person.
Only supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations and shops providing essential services remain open. A distance of at least one metre must be maintained between customers. Bars, restaurants, cafés will have to close, but home delivery and takeaway services are allowed.
Portugal has not placed any restrictions on public transport in Lisbon and Porto, but additional measures to clean and disinfect trains and buses have been taken. There are also limits to the number of commuters so as to insure a minimum distance.
Riding the metro and bus is free at least until the end of March. Parking meters in Lisbon and Porto are suspended until 9 April.
Postpone or Cancel Travel Plans to Lisbon and Portugal
Until the situation calms down and life gets back to normal, which is a matter of time, according to the medical community, stick to trip planning and research the best attractions in Lisbon.