Commerce will reopen “on the 4th and 18th of May and the 1st of June”, announces Costa

Apr 24, 2020

The prime minister Antonio Costa said today that on April 30th , the Council of Ministers will announce which commercial sectors will restart their activity with security standards on May 4 and 18 and June 1. António Costa spoke to journalists after meeting with the Confederation of Portuguese Commerce, which, in turn, invited the Lisbon, Viseu and Fafe traders’ associations to be present.

According to the prime minister, the meeting aimed to “test the hygiene rules for everyone to feel safe when going to establishments” from the moment the restrictions on the operation of these sectors are lifted.

“All sectors of activity are setting safety standards, which will have to be validated by the General Health Directorate. These standards must all be in a position to be applied when, on April 30, the Council of Ministers announces what is the release schedule for the containment rules “, stressed the executive leader.

According to António Costa, “the confinement release rules will come into force every 15 days, the first on 4 May, the second on 18 May and the other on 1 June”, although they do not yet include all sectors of activity.

“Therefore, on April 30, after the Council of Ministers, we will announce the activities that the 4th, 18th or 1st of June will be able to resume – and always with restrictions on capacity and in terms of protection of individual equipment, whether for those who are meet, in some cases for customers “, he stressed.

António Costa said that the executive’s objective, with this phased reopening calendar, “is to measure the impacts of the previous measure every 15 days, seeing if it is possible or not to take another step” in terms of lifting restrictions.

“It is better to go slowly and safely now than after having unpleasant surprises that force us to step back. Each time we release a containment rule, the risk of contamination increases. We know this and, as such, we have to maintain that level of controllable contamination, capable of responding to the National Health Service (SNS) “, he claimed.

Before the journalists, the leader of the executive said that the meeting also involved the association of hairdressers, so that this sector can also resume the activity in safety for professionals and their customers. “Naturally, safety standards are not the same for all sectors, pointing as an example the fact that the work of a hairdresser inevitably requires proximity to the client” .

Regarding the reopening plan for the commerce and services sectors, António Costa stressed that there will be no “pre-covid-19 normality, until there is a vaccine”.

“With all sectors of activity, we must prepare what are the conditions so that the rules of containment can be eased,” he added.

António Costa also said that, on the part of the Government, “an effort is being made to increase the response capacity of public transport, ensuring its hygiene”. “The Minister of Infrastructure [Pedro Nuno Santos] is currently meeting with the mayors of Cascais and Sintra to increase the offer and safety on trains”, he revealed.

“These are the two railway lines where there are greater difficulties in ensuring social distance”, he justified.