Announcement by the Prime Minister
António Costa spoke to the country on Saturday at 15:00 hrs and announced the measures decided in the Council of Ministers for the forthcoming festive period.
At Christmas, travel between municipalities will be allowed, but in the New Year this restriction remains in place.
The Prime Minister began by saying that measures to circulation on public roads would remain in force for the next 15 days from 13:00 hrs on Saturday and Sunday in municipalities at extreme and very high risk.
For the Christmas and New Year period, however, exceptions will be adopted, subject to evaluation on 18th December to confirm that the trend of improvement in the pandemic situation is confirmed and that it will not be necessary to "pull the emergency brake," announced the head of government.
The main exception for Christmas will be the permission to travel between municipalities on 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th December. In addition, on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, you can circulate on public roads until 02:00 hrs. The Government advises that at Christmas, families should avoid meeting many people, avoid spending too much time without a mask and prefer open and ventilated spaces.
Another exception for Christmas will be the restaurant opening hours. On the nights of 24th and 25th December they can be open until 01:00 hrs and on the 26th they can serve lunch until 15:30 hrs.
In the New Year the exceptions will not be as comprehensive. Movement between municipalities is prohibited between 00:01 hrs on 31st December and 05:00 hrs on 4th January.
No public parties or opening to the public will be allowed on New Year's Eve, nor gatherings on the public road with more than six people.
Restaurants can be open on the evening of 31st December until 01:00 hrs and on the first day of 2021 they can serve until 15:30 hrs.
The Prime Minister explained that the government's strategy was to extend the restriction measures until Christmas, and then to reduce them on 24th, 25th December and 1st January, returning to the level of restrictions.
At the press conference after the meeting of the Council of Ministers in which the measures to implement the new State of Emergency were announced, António Costa called on families to "avoid fraternisation with many people", long periods without masks and "being in closed spaces, small or not very ventilated".
"It must be a sharing Christmas", he said, but "it must not be a time of involuntary transmission of the virus". "May we all be effectively safe as a family," the Prime Minister said. "Let us not share the virus. That cannot be our Christmas gift".
António Costa explained that it was vital to maintain the effort so that "the goal of reaching Christmas with as few infected people as possible" could be achieved since "the less infected people are, the lower the risk of transmission".
By November, the executive had already divided the continent's 278 municipalities into four groups, depending on the level of risk of transmission: moderate, high, very high and extremely high.
António Costa stressed the need to maintain the measures that have been applied in these territories for the next 15 days.