Information: if you have already read this article, scroll down to the section “Coronavírus (Covid-19) in Portugal: current situation” to get the latest updates.

I would like not to have to write this article, but instead talk about the wonders of Portugal or give you travel advices, but we are experiencing a dramatic situation (which my generation and my parents’ never knew), which makes it impossible to continue our lives as if nothing is happening…

The virus has taken over Europe with incredible force and our continent has become the epicentre of this war.

When I wrote this article, we had not yet reached the peak of contamination (expected for April), meaning that the worst is yet to come.

I know that we were told from the beginning that this virus is just a flu, but the consequences will be much worse than the seasonal flu…

Although 80% of the population who contract coronavirus (covid-19) have only mild symptoms (fever, cough) as if it was a flu, it is likely that more severe cases will die from the virus, lack of vacancies in hospitals and equipment (for example, medical ventilators).

To get an idea of ​​the problem, there are on average 2.7 hospital beds per 1000 inhabitants in the USA and 2.5 in the UK (there are 3 hospital beds per 1000 inhabitants in Portugal) and that number decreases a little more when it comes to intensive care.

There will be more and more serious cases and, if we do nothing, doctors will have to choose between those they treat and those who have to die (that’s what happened in Italy…).

The purpose of the measures taken by our governments is to avoid a large number of cases at once, so that the peak of cases is as low as possible and that time is saved until temperatures start to rise (hoping that this virus becomes similar to that of seasonal flu) and that a vaccine for Covid-19 is found.

For the first time, we, Europeans, must be responsible and disciplined so that this crisis lasts as little as possible.

According to some scientists, the peak of the pandemic will occur between mid and late April (at least in Portugal), but these predictions are only valid if we follow the instructions!

At best, this situation will last until May and may continue if we don’t change our habits. Even if you are not afraid of this virus, think of fragile people like your parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts.

In addition to this health crisis, if you hesitate to follow the instructions and think about your work or your company, because this will be prolonged, then we will face a crisis never seen before!

To track coronavirus statistics by country, click here.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Portugal: current situation

I will put the instructions of the Portuguese government below and, whenever they change, I’ll update them.

Add this article to your favourites so that you get the latest information about the progress of this pandemic in Portugal.

Friday, May 29, 2020: balance of 1 month of deconfinement + summer holidays

A month ago, when the deflation was announced, I never thought to write the following!

After almost a month (25 days) of deconfinement, the situation in Portugal has improved significantly, exactly the opposite of what I expected.

On May 1, when I published in this article the new rules of life from May 4 (beginning of deconfinement), there were 1007 deaths from coronavirus in Portugal, 892 hospitalised people and 154 in intensive care in Portugal.

Up until May 28, 2020, there were 1369 deaths and only 512 people were hospitalised and 65 people were in intensive care.

In 25 days, there were 362 deaths, an average of 14.48 deaths per day, an average twice as low as in April.

It’s true that there are 362 more deaths than we’d wanted, but with the deconfinement, a much larger number would be expected.

The most interesting figures concern patients in the hospital. There was a decrease of 380 people hospitalised and 89 people in intensive care.

Regarding confirmed cases, there are currently (May 28, 2020) 31 596 infected people, an increase of 6245 people (249.8 confirmed cases per day). Fonte.

The good news is that the population respects (in its vast majority) social distance and wears a mask in closed spaces (shops, work, etc.).

The virus has not disappeared from Portugal, but the pandemic is under control at this stage. The Portuguese are gradually beginning to live a normal life (with new safety rules) and with this good news, we will be able to enter the last phase of deconfinement (as of June 1) with the opening of stores bigger than 400 m2 (shopping centres), as well as cinemas, theatres and concert halls (with a limited number of seats).

Let us hope that this good news continues and that the population continues to respect safety rules.

Summer holidays

European countries are working on bilateral agreements so that, between July and August, citizens of the European Union will already be able to travel and go on holiday to neighbouring countries.

The Portuguese government is in conversations with the British government for an exception to what was announced: that everyone arriving to the United Kingdom after June 8 will have to be quarantined for 14 days. This is very important since there is a strong presence of the Portuguese community and thousands of British residents travel to Portugal every year and with this announcement they may change their plans. Source.

Currently, Portugal does not impose a mandatory quarantine on people arriving from abroad (except in the archipelagos of Madeira and Azores, which have different rules), the only risk is when returning to the country of origin.

If you intend to visit Portugal by car, know that you can do so from July 1 onwards, when Spain opens its borders.

Should we start booking our holidays for the months of July or August?

When I last updated this article, I recommended that people make the reservation just a few days before their departure.

This week, after analysing flight prices for the months of July and August, I noticed that they were twice as cheap as in the same period last year. So I booked two tickets for my parents during the month of August from Paris to Porto with the Portuguese airline TAP for just 160 euros per person.

Is there a risk that flights will be cancelled? Yes, but with all the good news and agreements between European countries, I think the risk is minimal, because, in the worst case scenario, there will be a voucher for new flights and, above all, some risks are worth taking because those flights are cheap.

Regarding other reservations, here’s what I recommend:

Accommodation: make your reservation at Booking.com (affiliate link) with free cancellation and without prepayment (paid on the day of arrival); therefore, if the flight is cancelled, you can cancel your reservation free of charge up to 48 hours before your arrival.

Car hire: prices for hiring a car (affiliate link) are a little cheaper than normal, but the difference is not big. You can start the reservation, but unlike the accommodation, you will have to pay immediately and ask for a refund 48 hours before your arrival.

As the amount for hiring a car is big (if you hire a car for more than 7 days), I suggest you wait a little longer and hire a car a few days before your departure (one to two weeks before). Chances are that prices will go up a bit, the closer you are to the holiday period, but that way you won’t have that money blocked.

It is true that you will be 100% refunded up to 48 hours before your departure, but on the last returns, refunds can take several days, especially if there are a large number of requests.

Activities: as prices do not change according to demand, I suggest you book your activities only 2-3 days in advance.

Special cases of the archipelagos of Madeira and Azores:

To be able to enter Madeira archipelago, it is necessary until June 30 that a test for covid-19 (with a negative result) be carried out at most 72 hours before your arrival, otherwise, you must be quarantined until the result of the test carried out on your arrival is known.

From July 1 onwards, when you get out of the plane, you’ll have to do a COVID-19 test and wait for the results for around 1 hour. If the result is negative, you’ll be able to enter the archipelago of Madeira and visit this paradise with no restrictions (respecting the new security standards). Source.

For your information, the archipelago of Madeira had only 90 infected people by coronavirus and zero deaths!

In order to enter the Azores, you have 4 options:

1. Have tested covid-19 with a negative result up to 72 hours before arriving in the Azores.

2. Test covid-19 when you arrive in the Azores. In that case, it will be necessary to stay in quarantine for 1 or 2 days, as long as necessary to ascertain the results.

3. Carry out a voluntary quarantine of 14 days in a hotel in the Azores (paid by local authorities).

4. If you refuse the 3 options, you will have to return to your country of origin. Source.

For your information, the archipelago of the Azores had only 146 infected people by coronavirus and 16 deaths!

Thursday May 14, 2020: ban on entering Portugal by road…

Portugal has extended the period in which the borders will be closed with Spain (until June 15), but they continue to be open (on the Portuguese side) for the transport of goods, transborder workers and all those who have their main residence in Portugal or those with Portuguese nationality.

The only problem is that Spain has just passed a decree which requires anyone crossing the Spanish border (coming from France or Portugal) to make a mandatory quarantine of 14 days, even if you are just passing through to enter Portugal or leaving towards your country.

This means that as of tomorrow, May 15, and as long as the state of emergency is in effect, no one can enter Portugal by road without making a quarantine of 14 days in Spain (except the transborder workers, road workers, health workers and air transport workers).

The state of emergency is in effect until May 24 in Spain, but will no doubt be extended. Some say (Portuguese press) that this measure will be maintained until early July.

Important information (update): anyone who has their main residence in Portugal or in an EU country, can go through Spain to reach their home provided they have documents that demonstrate this. I suggest you consult the website of your embassy in Portugal or the Portuguese embassy in your country.

Portuguese who are abroad and who have their main residence in Portugal can also go through Spain, but before doing so, I suggest you contact the Portuguese consulate or Portuguese embassy in the country you live in.

For those who wish to come to Portugal in the coming days, it will have to be done by plane.

Currently, there are very few flights serving Portuguese airports, but in the coming days, the airlines will expand their offer.

When I wrote these lines, travellers arriving in Portugal do not need to undergo mandatory quarantine (except those wishing to go to the Madeira or Azores archipelagos).

If you do not have an urgent reason, I do not recommend visiting Portugal in the coming days.

In one of my last messages, I advised you not to visit Portugal before June 15. This time, I’m going a little further, and I will advise you to come on holidays to Portugal only from July onwards.

The European countries are preparing themselves to welcome tourists for the months of July and August, so you should wait until then so that the European Union countries come to a compromise and give people clear rules to follow.

With the current situation, I advise you not to book your holidays, even for the months of July and August. For once, I will advise you to make your reservations only a few days before your departure.

As things change quickly and until there are clear rules, chances are you should reschedule your holidays.

Even if the European Union clarified yesterday that travellers have the right to be reimbursed in the event of cancellation of their reservations, truth be told, what is being offered to you is a voucher to use until the end of 2021.

To be safe, don’t book anything until there is more information.

The good news is that the situation is improving day by day in Portugal. There are only 692 people hospitalised due to covid-19, 103 people in intensive care and the number of deaths per day are on average 15 people with a total of 1175 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Portugal is getting ready so that you can come and visit its wonders safely. From May 18 onwards, many tourist places will reopen with new safety standards (you can read my message from May 1 below), such as wearing a mask and limiting people inside each establishment.

The Portuguese tourist office has created a label “Clean & Safe” which will be given to all tourism-related companies (restaurants, hotels, etc.) that comply with all the safety standards recommended by Portuguese public health experts.

As you can see, the Portuguese are looking forward to welcoming you again and for you to discover our beautiful country in complete safety.

We must all be patient and wait a few more weeks, but it’s for everyone’s good!

Information: if you have already booked your stay in Portugal and if it is planned from July onwards, you do not need to cancel, because there are strong chances (I would say 90%) that you can come and discover Portugal.

If your stay is planned for the end of May or the month of June, make sure your flight wasn’t cancelled (contact the airline directly) and that your accommodation is open during your stay. If so, you can come and visit Portugal.

Friday, May 1, 2020: end of confinement + opening of the economy

Yesterday, April 30, the Portuguese Prime Minister presented new rules of life that will start on May 4.

As expected, on May 2, the state of emergency will not be renewed and we are taking a step forward with the declaration of the state of public calamity. The government will still have “superpowers”, but the population will no longer have such strict restrictions.

A plan to gradually open the economy was presented for 15-day intervals (May 4 and 18, and June 1).

Flexibility will occur every 15 days, if public health conditions permit. Hospitals have 4000 beds (the limit beyond which the health system is saturated) to accommodate patients with covid-19.

Currently, there are less than 1000 people with coronavirus in Portuguese hospitals. With the end of the confinement, there is a good possibility that this number will increase, but as long as the Portuguese health system can take patients, the ease will continue so that the economy can resume.

If the number of sick people admitted to hospitals approaches the limit of 4000 places, the Prime Minister will not hesitate to go back and put the country back in confinement.

To prevent this from happening, the government has established a 15-day phased opening plan and new rules for people. Here they are:

May 4:

  • Opening of all stores with an area of ​​less than 200 m2
  • Hairdressers, beauticians and the like with appointments
  • Car dealers
  • Public services (taxes, etc.) with appointments
  • Possibility to practice individual outdoor sports (tennis, golf) without the possibility of using swimming pools and changing rooms
  • The places available on public transportation will be limited to 2/3 of the total capacity
  • Telework should continue in all companies, whenever possible

May 18:

In addition to the openings on May 4, starting on May 18, other businesses will open:

  • Shops with an area of ​​less than 400 m2 (or only 400 m2 of the total area, if the shop has a larger area)
  • Restaurants, cafes, pastry shops and terraces, but cannot accommodate more than 50% of regular customers (number of places divided by 2)
  • Libraries and archives
  • Museums, monuments, palaces, art galleries and the like (with a limited number of visitors at the same time)
  • High schools for 11th and 12th grades (the others continue their studies at home)
  • Nurseries
  • Religious ceremonies (Mass, etc. ) with a limited number of people to maintain social distance
  • May 30-31: matches of the Portuguese Football League and the Portuguese Cup without an audience in the stadiums

June 1:

  • All the shops in the shopping centres
  • Cinemas, theatres, concert halls with a reduced number of people
  • Lojas do Cidadão (place where the Portuguese solve administrative problems, renewal of the identity card)

General rules:

  • Mandatory confinement for all people with covid-19
  • Civic duty not to leave home without reason (it is not an obligation, but the government wants the Portuguese to leave home only when necessary)
  • Prohibition for meetings of more than 10 people (even with social distance)
  • Possibility to attend the funeral of a family member
  • In stores, there are a limit of 5 customers per 100 m2 of surface
  • Social distance of 2 metres
  • Obligation to wear masks in public transportation, schools, shops and other closed places (fines of 120 to 350 euros will be applied for non-compliance with the use of the mask in public transportation – for the time being without fines foreseen for other situations)
  • The population will be able to buy masks in stores such as supermarkets or pharmacies
  • Companies must follow strict hygiene rules for their employees and customers

Important information: so far there is no date for the opening of bars, clubs, sports halls and beaches (authorisation only for those who carry out nautical activities such as surfers).

Can we start booking our holidays for this summer?

If things continue in the right direction, it will be possible to visit Portugal again (with the rules mentioned above, such as wearing masks and respecting social distance).

The accommodations (hotels, apartments / pensions) will start to open some in May, others in June and others in July, with rules yet to be defined.

I do not advise anyone to visit Portugal before the 15th of June. It is better to see how things will go in the first days after confinement and how the new rules will be applied.

You can start booking your holidays from mid-June onwards, but pay special attention for the cancellation policy for each reservation.

Always choose companies (accommodation, car rental, activities) that offer free cancellation up to a few days before your arrival.

This way, if things get worse, you can easily get your money back. Otherwise, the company will offer you a voucher to use until December 31, 2021.

Information: At the moment, we have just exceeded 1000 coronavirus deaths (1007) and over 1647 people recovered, out of a total of 25 351 confirmed cases.

There are 892 people hospitalised, including 154 in intensive care.

I hope that this good news will continue, so that we get closer and closer to a “normal” life.

Monday, April 27, 2020: ban on leaving your municipality of residence + personal message

In order to avoid a rush of the population to the countryside, to their second home or to the coast, the Portuguese government decided to limit trips between the municipalities during the long weekend of the holiday of May 1 (Friday 1 to Sunday 3 May). Therefore, it will be prohibited to leave the municipality of residence, except to go to work or for health reasons. During these three days, to leave your municipality of residence, you will need a declaration that justifies the movement between the municipalities.

The government made this decision, because in the last few days there has been an increasingly visible relaxation, after the good news and information about stopping the confinement, scheduled for May.

In early May, I will update this article again, with the new rules of life (opening of certain stores, end of the state of emergency, etc.).

Small personal message: last Saturday, April 25, a perfectly normal date for many, but for Portugal and the Portuguese that date reminds us that the fight for freedom is made everyday.

It was only 46 years ago (1974) that a coup d’état organised by the Portuguese army overthrew the dictatorship that has lasted since the 1930s.

This year we were unable to celebrate this important date on the street, but the spirit of April 25 was present among all the Portuguese who went to the window to sing “Grândola Vila Morena”, the song that started the revolution.

Being “just” 32 years old, I’m lucky that I didn’t go through this dark period, but when I hear “Grândola Vila Morena”, I can’t help but be moved. The tears form little by little, until they run down my face…

At this difficult time, we have a small idea of ​​what it is like to live in a dictatorship.

We think wrongly that everything that has been acquired will never be lost…

Never forget: freedom is not a given, it is a daily battle!

Long live freedom!

Friday, April 17, 2020: extension of the state of emergency + summer holidays

The President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, yesterday announced to the country, in a televised message, the extension of the state of emergency until May 2 (probably the last extension).

When I wrote these lines, the decree defining the new rules for the next 15 days had not yet been published, but I can tell you that measures will be a little more flexible.

The ban on leaving the municipality of residence has already been lifted (it was only in effect during the Easter period) and the municipality of Ovar will be freed from compulsory confinement in the coming days.

This loosening of the rules is due to the good behavior of the Portuguese people (few people were arrested for the crime of disobedience), to the “low” number of hospitalised and dead people and also to economic reasons.

Even though, in general, things are better than expected, there are still some mishaps and people who forget that this good news can change quickly if we do not comply with the safety rules established since the beginning of the pandemic.

Let me tell you about an example of bad behaviour that was news in Portugal during Easter: as you probably know, Portugal is a country with religious (Catholic) traditions deeply rooted in society, especially in Northern Portugal and, during Easter, one of the traditions is to gather family, friends and neighbours at home to welcome the priest who carries Christ on the cross. This cross passes from person to person to be kissed.

Some people, including priests, had the “great idea” of maintaining the tradition, some on the street, others in nursing homes, forgetting safety rules like social isolation.

Here is a video published by the Portuguese newspaper JN.pt that shows a little about what happened: https://www.jn.pt/local/videos/fieis-filmandos-a-beijar -the-cross-during-the-easter-in-barcelos-12062334.html

Even though 95% of the population followed the rules, I still want to talk about these few cases, to show that everything is not okay in Portugal and that there is no Portuguese miracle, as some foreign newspapers suggest.

In fact, the real miracle was the Portuguese politicians (government and president) who had the courage to take restrictive measures when there were still few people infected with covid-19 and all the political parties that approved the measures, forgetting their personal interests for the first time.

The population also understood very well that, if we did not respect the rules, the consequences would be dramatic, largely because of the fragility of our health system, which has been underfunded since the 2008 financial crisis.

Thanks to these measures, at the time of writing these lines there were “only” 657 deaths from coronavirus, an average of 64 deaths per 1 million inhabitants.

If things continue in the right path, starting in May, Portugal will start opening many local services and shops to get the economy going.

These openings will be made with strict security measures, so that the virus continues to spread slowly. I will make an update as soon as we know the new rules.

Here is a question my readers have already asked many times: can we start booking our holidays in Portugal for this summer?

Currently, Portuguese land borders are closed until May 14 and flights to Portugal are allowed only from the Schengen Area or from countries with a strong presence of the Portuguese community.

Even if the borders are opened after May 14, I do not advise you to book your holidays or come to Portugal until we have precise dates for the reopening of tourist sites, restaurants and hotels.

The Portuguese state will create new security rules in the coming weeks so that tourist establishments can reopen.

In my opinion, in addition to limiting the number of people present in each location (restaurants, hotels, etc.) and new hygiene standards, there is a good possibility that the use of a mask will be mandatory.

As soon as there is something new, I will tell you (in this article and by email) so you can schedule your holidays.

Even if this advice goes against my financial interests, above all, I don’t want you to lose your money, but rather to have a wonderful holiday in Portugal!

Until you can book your stay in Portugal, don’t hesitate to read my articles to choose the places to visit and start planning your itineraries.

Once things get better, all you need to do is book your airline tickets, hotels, car rental and activities.

Be brave in this unprecedented situation! We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Saturday, April 4, 2020: extension of the state of emergency + more stringent measures

Last Thursday, the President of the Portuguese Republic extended the state of emergency in Portugal for the next 15 days (3 to 17 April) and gave the government even more important powers, such as price regulation, to fight speculation.

Next, discover the new rules of life in Portugal until April 17th:

Mandatory confinement at home or in a health facility of any person infected by covid-19 or SARS-Cov2, as well as by suspicious persons. Failure to comply with this confinement will be considered a crime of disobedience.

People over 70 should stay at home as long as possible and leave only when absolutely necessary (buying food, solving health problems, going to the bank, post office, insurance company or taking the pet to the street). This rule does not apply to people working in the health sector, security forces, politicians and magistrates.

Everyone else can leave their homes, but they must have a valid justification. Tourism, going to the beach, obviously, are not things we can do.

Easter period: between April 9th ​​and 13th, across the country, it is forbidden to leave your municipality of residence, except to go to work or for health reasons. During those 5 days, to leave your municipality of residence, you will need a statement from your employer. Portuguese airports will be closed for commercial flights.

All companies open to the public must comply with strict rules in order to receive customers (limiting the number of customers within the establishment, a minimum distance of 2 metres between each person and disinfecting everything that is affected by customers, such as cash registers, payment terminals etc.).

Personal testimony: even if this rule was already present in the other decrees, it was only as of yesterday (Friday, April 3) that companies began to apply these rules to the letter. When I went shopping, I saw that change.

One must wait outside the establishment at a distance of at least 1 metre and enter only when a person leaves; the cash registers are cleaned frequently, the payment terminals are cleaned between each customer, there are markings on the floor to maintain the mandatory distance between each person and the teller operators have, finally, protection equipment.

I think it is unfortunate that it took 15 days to apply these rules, which were already recommended when the state of emergency was declared in March. This proves that a minority of people / companies act only if they are forced to do so by law…

In addition to the Easter period, the municipality of Ovar, near Aveiro, and all municipalities of São Miguel in the Azores are in mandatory confinement, which means that people can only enter or leave only in cases of absolute need (work, health reasons, etc.).

To complete this update, I would like to inform you that there are currently (Saturday, April 4th) 10.524 people affected by the coronavirus (confirmed cases), 266 people have died, 75 people have recovered and more than 80.000 people are suspected of being infected with the virus.

Monday, March 30, 2020: Portugal surpasses the symbolic number of 100 deaths due to coronavirus

This weekend, Portugal crossed the symbolic barrier of 100 deaths (140 when I wrote these lines) as a result of an infection by covid-19. This number may seem insignificant, especially when compared to our neighbouring country, but we must not forget that there are only 10 million inhabitants in Portugal.

If Portugal had the same number of inhabitants as France, for example, the number of deaths would be around 840. Looking at the number of deaths in France (2606 – at the time I wrote these lines), we can say that the situation in Portugal is much better, except that the health crisis started much earlier in France (first case of covid-19 on January 23) than in Portugal (first case on March 1).

All this to say that the situation will worsen in the coming days and that the peak of the pandemic in Portugal will not arrive until May (the Portuguese government even predicts the peak towards the end of May).

The seriousness of the situation was understood by the vast majority of the Portuguese population, but some still do not want to understand the danger of their actions…

Even though the whole population seems to be staying at home, the reality is different. Many people still have family meals (I mean with the family that doesn’t live with us), there is even a kind of exodus from part of the population towards the interior of the country (the best thing to do to spread viruses to an elderly population) to be supposedly “safe” or simply to use secondary housing, larger than the city apartments.

To limit this phenomenon, the police carried out routine checks last Saturday on all vehicles that wanted to leave Lisbon towards the south of the country, crossing the 25 de Abril bridge, as well as on the main road (A1) that connects Lisbon to Porto.

The police forced many drivers to turn around and only allowed to proceed those who had valid justifications.

For now, Portugal relies on the goodwill of the population to follow the government’s advice, but if this phenomenon continues, there is a good chance that we will have to adopt much stricter rules as in other European countries (Spain, France, Italy).

Personal opinion: with the pandemic peaking late (which is perfect for not overwhelming hospitals), the health crisis can last for many months. After getting the latest update, I don’t think the situation will improve until June 15 (I sincerely hope I’m wrong…).

When the pandemic peak is reached and states start to soften the rules of life, we will have to control the virus so that a second wave doesn’t come a few weeks later and we have to be in social distancing again (which would be disastrous in terms of health but also for the economy of each country).

In my opinion, after this first social distancing, we will have to get used to new rules of community life. Everyone will have to wear masks (yes, masks are useful to contain the virus, as long as the entire population is equipped), and tests should be carried out on all suspected cases to isolate positive cases from the rest of the population.

I only see these two solutions to avoid a new generalised isolation and for life to return to “normal”.

The situation is and will be difficult in the coming weeks, but let us not be overcome by this morbid atmosphere. Take advantage of this time to talk a lot with people you love (via internet or phone), read, exercise, prepare for the post-crisis and limit negative information (once a day is enough to make you aware of what is happening around you).

Let’s do our best to limit the spread of this virus. Let us do this for ourselves and for others!

Remember, our actions can kill or save lives. It is up to us to know what we want!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020: urgent message to motorhome owners

After the announcement of the measures to be applied during the state of emergency (see below what I wrote on Friday March, 20) the Portuguese government published a decree this Sunday with all the new rules of life in Portugal.

One of the measures taken is the closure of all campsites and motorhome parks. Since Monday 23, campsites and motorhome parks have been prohibited from welcoming new people and all those who are there must leave until Friday March 27, the latest.

The only exception are people who have a permanent residence (declared before the state of emergency) in one of these campsites and who have no other place to live.

Motorhome owners have 3 options:

Leave with their motorhome to their country of origin (Spain, France, United Kingdom, etc.). If choose this option, before leaving, fill up, buy essential goods in a supermarket near where you are and drive safe while respecting social distancing. The British government wrote this article that you should read for further information.

Leave their motorhome in Portugal and return by plane. If you choose this option, I suggest you contact the local authorities (Town Hall or the police – GNR or PSP) where you are located to find out where you can leave your motorhome. Also, contact the embassy of your country located in Portugal so they can help you.

Stay in Portugal. There are many people who have decided to stay in Portugal, because the situation is better (when I wrote these lines) than in other countries, or because they do not wish to drive for many hours (often more than 16 hours driving) to reach their home country, to cross Spain in the current situation, or even to leave their motorhome in Portugal.

For all those who stay in Portugal, I suggest you rent a house (you can do your research on Booking.com or on Airbnb) or a private property (see below) where you can park your motorhome for the next 2 months.

Above all, do not go wild camping (don’t park your motorhome in unauthorised places), because the authorities will start to act (as in neighbouring countries) as soon as the situation gets worse.

In this delicate situation, and so that the situation does not become even more complicated, I suggest you remain calm, choose the best solution for your situation and above all, follow the instructions of the Portuguese authorities.

To help motorhome owners who have nowhere to go in this difficult situation, the YouTube channel Voyage à Plein Temps has decided to create a solidarity map where those who have available land can offer it to people in difficulty.

Currently, the majority of aid offers are in France, but I sincerely hope that there will be people in Portugal who can help motorhome owners who have nowhere to go.

To help, or ask for help, click here.

Friday, March 20, 2020: upholding the state of emergency

After the declaration of the state of emergency, on Wednesday, by the President of the Republic, yesterday at the end of the day, the Prime Minister defined the new rules of life in Portugal for the next days:

  • Anyone who has tested positive for covid-19 or is under surveillance is now in mandatory quarantine (at home or in the hospital). Failure to comply with the quarantine is considered a crime of disobedience.
  • All people who do not show symptoms are not required to be quarantined, but should stay as long as possible at home and leave only when necessary (to work, to go shopping, going to the pharmacy, taking the pet to the street), respecting social distancing (minimum distance of 1 metre between each person). In this first phase, the government did not want to force the population to enter mandatory quarantine, because the Portuguese were voluntarily quarantined (words of the Prime Minister).
  • All public service companies will be closed (restaurants, bars, hairdressers, etc.), except bakeries, grocery stores, supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies, kiosks and all companies that sell products and offer essential services to the population, such as banks or post office.
  • Restaurants can continue to operate but only to deliver food at home or take away.
  • Shopping centres will close, but the supermarkets that are there will remain open. All non-public service companies must continue their activities normally (improving sanitary conditions to protect their employees), except in the municipalities where the state of public calamity has been decreed (this is the case of the municipality of Ovar, close to Aveiro, where several cases of covid-19 have been reported).
  • All public services will be closed to the public (civil servants will work by telecommuting). These services can be contacted by phone or the internet and, if necessary, you can make an appointment.
  • In public transportation, the number of seats will be reduced in order to respect social distancing.

In this first phase, the police will have a pedagogical role, but if the population does not follow instructions, there will be a tightening of the rules and fines!

Last minute information: starting next week, all people who arrive in Portugal will be in mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

In addition to the new rules of life mentioned above, here are the others that are still valid:

  • Closed land borders between Portugal and Spain (except for goods and border services) – if you live abroad, you can leave Portugal and return home.
  • No flights between Portuguese, Italian and Chinese airports.
  • Forbidden to disembark passengers from cruise ships.
  • Ban on alcohol consumption on the streets.
  • Closure of all schools, universities, museums.
  • All stores, supermarkets, shopping centres and pharmacies must limit the number of customers simultaneously. It will be necessary to wait at the entrance of each establishment until the number of customers decreases in order to enter.
  • While waiting to enter a company, bank, etc., a minimum space of one metre must be left between each person.
  • Public services (taxes, renewal of identity card, passport, etc.) remain open, but they only answer in case of emergency (you must make an appointment at https://eportugal.gov.pt/ or call 300 003 990 (for people) or 300 003 980 (for companies)).
  • If you have a passport, identity card, Portuguese driving license or certificate of residence in Portugal with an expiration date ending on March 9, 2020, do not renew them. They remain valid until June 30th.
  • Azores and Madeira: anyone who arrives to one of these archipelagos will be quarantined for 14 days to reduce the risk of contamination of the local population.

Important message: I still see many people facing this pandemic lightly (in Portugal and other countries), but if we are not confined at home and do not respect social distancing, we may face a possible humanitarian disaster…

After Italy, Spain is letting many patients die due to lack of hospital space and equipment. Currently, war medicine is being practised!

Let’s do everything we can to save lives, stay at home as long as possible, avoid social contact and let the authorities help us!

Do not wait until there are thousands of dead to realise the problem.

Positive message from Turismo Centro de Portugal (tourism promotion entity for Central Portugal region):

As a nurse said: applauding hospital staff every night is good, but following instructions is better!

If you have symptoms (fever, cough) that may indicate that you have covid-19, call (if you are in Portugal) 808 24 24 24.

If you have Portuguese nationality and are experiencing difficulties in returning to Portugal, send an email to explain your situation to this email address: covid19@mne.pt or call 00351 217 929 755.

If you are in Portugal and are having difficulties to return home (to your country), I suggest you contact your country’s consulate or embassy in Portugal.

Let’s do everything we can to make this event a distant memory!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020: Portugal is on state of emergency for at least 2 weeks

By the end of the day, the Portuguese President has declared the state of emergency until April 2 (can be prolonged). Today, we took another step in this war against the virus. The objective is to delay the dissemination, as far as possible, so that the Portuguese hospitals don’t get overcrowded but, above anything else, to save lives.

In the next hours, the Portuguese government will inform the Portuguese people about the new limitations in living in Portugal.

In the meantime, here are the main directives for the state of emergency:

  • The Portuguese President admits compulsive care in houses or health establishments
  • Circulation in public places is restricted
  • Possibility for civil requisition of properties, commercial and industrial facilities as well as other companies
  • Possibility for civil requisition of private and social health facilities
  • Possibility for civil requisition of public and private employees from the health sector as well civil protection, security and defence
  • the right to strike is suspended
  • the freedom of cult may be restricted

Source: SIC Noticias

Apart from these measures, the Portuguese government created a site: https://covid19estamoson.gov.pt/ to answer all the questions the Portuguese may have.

For non-Portuguese speakers, the government translated this document into 19 different languages: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1QeKaeGbajcbRHdsPvQADSIjE7VuSbHFA

Monday, March 16, 2020: Portugal is on state of alert until April 9

  • Closed land borders between Portugal and Spain (except for goods and border services) – if you live abroad, you can leave Portugal and return home.
  • No flights between Portuguese, Italian and Chinese airports.
  • Forbidden to disembark passengers from cruise ships.
  • Ban on alcohol consumption on the streets (outside bars / terraces).
  • Closure of all schools, universities, museums, bars (after 9 pm) and nightclubs.
  • Mandatory reduction of one third of customers in restaurants and terraces so that there is a social distance between customers.
  • All stores, supermarkets, shopping centres and pharmacies must limit the number of customers simultaneously. It will be necessary to wait at the entrance of each establishment until the number of customers decreases in order to enter.
  • While waiting to enter a company, bank, etc., a minimum space of one metre must be left between each person.
  • Public services (taxes, renewal of identity card, passport, etc.) remain open, but they only answer in case of emergency (you must make an appointment at https://eportugal.gov.pt/ or call 300 003 990 (for people) or 300 003 980 (for companies)).
  • If you have a passport, identity card, Portuguese driving license or certificate of residence in Portugal with an expiration date ending on March 9, 2020, do not renew them. They remain valid until June 30th.
  • Azores and Madeira: anyone who arrives to one of these archipelagos will be quarantined for 14 days to reduce the risk of contamination of the local population.

Source: Portuguese Government: https://www.portugal.gov.pt/

If you have symptoms (fever, cough) that may indicate that you have covid-19, call (if you are in Portugal) 808 24 24 24.

If you have Portuguese nationality and are experiencing difficulties in returning to Portugal, send an email to explain your situation to this email address: covid19@mne.pt or call 00351 217 929 755.

If you are in Portugal and are having difficulties to return home (to your country), I suggest you contact your country’s consulate or embassy in Portugal.

We will do everything possible to make this event a distant memory!

Be strong and be safe!

Tiago

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