October 19, 2021

The Tampa Herald

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Portugal reactivates schools, museums and terraces, after 80 days of paralysis

3 min read

In Portugal, secondary schools, terraces, museums and gyms reopen, after 80 days of paralysis in their activities due to the pandemic.

The country, with ten million inhabitants, begins this Monday the second phase of its lack of refinement, the most anticipated for containing the great social relief: the reopening of the terraces, an indispensable element of Portuguese life that returns to the beginning of spring converted in an authentic national balm.

Since breakfast time the tables have returned to the streets and have remained busy in the early hours of the day, in which shops of up to 200 square meters with access to the street, gyms (without classes of group), museums and monuments, while the adolescents have returned to class.

The day, loaded with requests for prudence by the authorities, created a Sunday atmosphere in the street, with a lot of activity and optimism: while other countries tighten restrictions, the Portuguese reopen with less than 500 infections and ten deaths a day.

His lack of refinement, still half and that coexists with the closed border with Spain, is nevertheless perceived as a huge qualitative leap towards normality.

“We were tired of being at home, we couldn’t take it anymore. We came to take a walk, go into three stores and that’s it,” confesses Fernanda, waiting in the central Baixa of Lisbon with her daughter Bianca to enter a store of clothing.

They will have to wait for the eight women in front of them to enter but they are not worried. Residents of Barreiro, on the other side of the Tagus river, have decided to spend Monday morning squeezing one of the reliefs from this phase of disconfinement.

The rest, she adds after hesitating, they plan to dose it in the next few days: “Maybe this week we will go to a terrace, for now this is enough. It is already a great change and we remain calm.”

Others give in to the temptation of indulgence. The terraces in the area cater to people finishing a coffee and a cake, many of them with bags from nearby stores, where the doors open with their employees still going through shop windows and rearranging the display.

It is an uneven activity in Lisbon, where not everyone who can open. One in five stores has not withstood the confinements and can no longer lift the blind, according to calculations by the Union of Trade and Services Associations released today.

Clothing and footwear stores are the most affected, with a drop in turnover of between 50 and 70% recorded last year.

Between lowered blinds and others open, cafes and restaurants, which can have up to four clients at a table on the terrace, have felt that they were doing their August after working exclusively for home deliveries since mid-January.

The reliefs this Monday are possible due to the control that Portugal currently has of the epidemiological situation, although in recent days the rise in the transmission factor R (t), which measures the number of people that each infected person infects, has been cautiously observed.

This indicator is one of the keys for the authorities, together with the number of daily infections and hospital pressure, to measure the rates of de-escalation, and in recent days it has approached 1, a level from which the epidemiological situation would pass to get worse.

This will be the section that Portugal will have to watch over the next two weeks to decide if it goes to the third phase of the lack of refinement or if, on the contrary, it is time to stop its relief.


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