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Release

‘As long as there is Covid , there will be no normal life’  (António Costa)

Portugal’s State of Emergency has changed into a State of Calamity as from the beginning of May and with approximately 100 deaths per million inhabitants.

This implicates that ‘the future depends on the efforts of every single citizen to make a success of the country’s return into the world of business’, according to prime minister António Costa.
In other words, social distancing and hand hygiene should remain in place.

Contrary to other European countries, Portugal rejects contact tracing. Both the president and the prime minister consider the measure to start putting citizens under permanent increased surveillance ‘unconstitutional’.

The release began on the 4th of May with the reopening of small local commerce (including opticians and dentists), bookshops, libraries, driving schools, hairdressers, beauty salons, public services and transport. All required special measures, in particular the use of masks. Not wearing one in public transport may be fined with 350 euros.

Without a spike in the number of infections, it was decided on May 18 to reopen restaurants, cafés and pastelarias (all running at 50% capacity), terraces, museums, art galleries, shops of up to 400 sq m, schools for 11th and 12th-year pupils taking national exams (with pupils and teachers wearing masks) and creches (as yet on a voluntary basis).

Other details of the State of Calamity involve a restriction on gatherings to a maximum of 10 people, funerals involving family members only (without restrictions on the number) and teleworking to be continued until June 1. The end of restrictions on ‘religious gatherings’ and resumption of the Premier Football League (without public) are scheduled for the final weekend of May.

The official beach season will start on June 6 although the country is set for a spring heatwave at the end of May. A ‘traffic-light system’ is being rolled out as a way of avoiding ‘militarised order’ on the more popular beaches Costa da Caparica, Cascais, Oeiras, Carcavelos and in the Algarve . The idea is that beachgoers adhere to the traffic lights or lose access to the beach altogether.

Sunshades (for max five persons and to be rented for half a day) have to be placed three metres from each other, the general 1.5 meter distance rule has to be respected at all times and masks are mandatory when entering beach restaurants and bars. Moreover, a new mobile phone app will carry information on supervised beaches, allowing beachgoers to plan ahead.


Stay healthy                          Fique saudável             (pic Público/Sapo)



Overhead

‘Senhor, senhor.’ João woke up, turned drowsy around and looked straight into the smiling face of a black man, who was waving with a bunch of sunglasses over his head. ‘Very cheap, very good.’ ‘Thanks, man, I don’t need anything’, João muttered turning back on his bath towel.

He was sleeping badly since that horrible peace mission operation in Mali last month when El Qaida had, completely unexpected, attacked the hotel in the capital Bamako and killed – besides a dozen of tourists – two of his best friends. Young guys still. Shame!
Fortunately, he had sat high and dry in a plane on his way home, when the raid occurred. Despite the fact that he – as a sergeant at the Air Force – had carried out numerous peacekeeping missions in war zones all over the world, he felt that the safest place on earth was high in the sky.

How lovely was this calm beach with the afternoon sun gently roasting his back, the rhythmic burbling of the surf nearby and the smell of salty sand. His thoughts wandered off how horrible it must have been to be confronted all of a sudden with a batch of terrorists storming the hotel, shouting Allah Akbar and killing as many people as possible.

Maybe this was a warning, that he should stop this kind of work and look for less risky employment. But an office job on the ground? No way! Was flight instructor perhaps a good alternative? After all, he had lots of experience after flying for more than 25 years. Besides, he was also getting older with his 56 years. His 83-year-old mother would love it to have him around. Especially since his father had passed away last year and she had moved from Lisbon to a smaller apartment in Caparica, near the beach.

Satisfied he fell asleep again, while he heard in the distance the familiar sound of an approaching airplane.


A 56-year-old sergeant of The Air Force was killed when a Cessna aircraft made an emergency landing on the São João da Caparica beach, 20 km to the south of Lisbon. ‘The plane hit the man as he sunbathed on a towel’, witnesses declared.

BOM FIM DE SEMANA                                                                             (photo Público)