State of Calamity: what changes?
The 15th State of Emergency ends at 11:59 pm of April 30th. With the favourable development of the pandemic, the Government decided not to renew the state of emergency. However, as from May 1st we should enter a new phase: the state of calamity.
We highlight the main aspects and differences between the state of emergency and the state of calamity:
- A state of calamity can be declared in the event of serious accidents or disasters causing “high material damage and, possibly, victims”, affecting the population and the economy “in areas or the entire national territory”;
- The state of calamity allows for exceptional measures to be adopted, but unlike the state of emergency, it does not suspend rights, freedoms or guarantees;
- In a state of calamity, rights such as the right of resistance or the right to strike or other limitations to workers’ rights are no longer suspended;
- A state of emergency is declared by the President of the Republic. A state of calamity is officially declared by the Government;
- While the state of emergency lasts for 15 days (with the possibility of renewal, as has been happening), the state of calamity has no time limit. However, the measures must be set out in a resolution of the Council of Ministers, which should refer to the timeframe and territorial scope, as well as the coordination structure and resources.
That being said, during the duration of the state of calamity, the Government may:
- Prohibit gatherings on the public highway;
- Impose limits on circulation between the municipalities most affected by the pandemic and which are furthest behind in the deconfinement plan;
- Strongly recommend that all citizens wear community masks on public roads;
- Secure sanitary fences;
- Limit events of a family nature (such as weddings, christenings and others).
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Extension of deadlines and exceptional and temporary measures in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic
Given the worsening of the epidemiological situation registered at the beginning of this year and considering the difficulties of citizens in renewing or obtaining relevant documents to the exercise of rights, as a result of the closure of the services, the Government has decided to extend the requirement for public authorities to accept the display of documents whose validity has expired.
In this regard, Decree Law No. 22-A/2021 was published and it extends the deadlines and establishes exceptional and temporary measures in the context of the Covid-19 disease pandemic.
The Government has decided to extend until December 31st, 2021 the admissibility of certain documents, such as medical certificates to evaluate incapacity that expire in 2021, citizen cards, certificates and certificates issued by the registration and civil identification services, documents and visas related to staying in national territory, licenses and authorisations, as well as family ADSE beneficiary cards.
At the corporate level, it was decided:
- To extend the deadline for approval and posting of the holiday map until 15 May 2021;
- Waive the annual confirmation of the information contained in the Central Register of the Actual Beneficiary during the year of 2021, regardless of the date on which the beneficial ownership declaration was made and provided that no fact has occurred that determines a change in the information contained therein;
- Notwithstanding the possibility of holding general meetings by telematic means under the terms of the law, provision is also made for the possibility that the general meetings of companies, cooperatives and associations, which must be held by legal or statutory requirement, may be held until June 30th, 2021 or, in the case of cooperatives and associations with more than 100 cooperative members or members, until September 30th.
In the restaurant sector:
- Since restaurants, during this suspension period, may only operate for the purposes of preparation for consumption outside the establishment through home delivery, at the door of the establishment or at the wicket, it has been decided to extend the period available to catering and beverage service providers to adapt to the provisions of Law No. 76/2019 of September 2nd, which determines the non-use and non-availability of single-use plastic tableware in the activities of the catering and/or beverage sector and in retail trade.
Click HERE to access the diploma.
Suspension of legal deadlines
Law no. 4.º-B establishes the suspension of deadlines for the practice of non-urgent cases, other jurisdictions, arbitration courts, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Justices of Peace courts, alternative dispute resolution entities and tax enforcement entities.
The diploma provides that non-urgent proceedings before higher courts will continue to be conducted where conditions exist to ensure that procedural acts are carried out by means of appropriate distance communication.
Proceedings and acts deemed urgent by law or by decision of the judicial authority shall continue without suspension or interruption of time limits, which shall include proceedings for the defence of rights, freedoms and guarantees damaged or threatened with damage by any unconstitutional or illegal measures.
The diploma comes into force today and takes effect on January 22nd, 2021, without prejudice to the judicial proceedings already taken and practiced in the meantime.
Click HERE to access the diploma.
Renewal of the state of emergency and further strengthening of the restrictive measures
The Government approved new restrictive measures in context of the extension of the state of emergency decreed by the President of the Republic. The new measures will apply throughout the period of extension of the state of emergency, from 00:00 of January 31st and 11:59pm of February 14th, without prejudice to further renewals.
The main changes introduced are:
- Suspension of all educational establishments until February 5th; these activities will be resumed from February 8th on a non-attendance basis;
- Limitation to the movements of portuguese citizens out of the continental territory, carried out by any means, without prejudice to the exceptions foreseen in the decree;
- Therapeutic support can be provided in person in special educational establishments and schools, when necessary;
- Control of persons at land borders;
- Possibility of suspension of flights and determination of mandatory confinement of passengers on arrival;
- Possibility that health care institutions of the National Health Service may, exceptionally, engage, for a period of up to one year, holders of academic degrees conceded by foreign higher education institutions in the fields of medicine and nursing.
Click HERE to access the diploma.
New strengthening of the restrictive measures
In face of the escalating epidemic situation in the country and having reached a record number of infections and deaths, the Government has decided to implement the following measures:
- Closure of kindergartens, schools and universities for a period of 15 days (the closure will, in practice, be a holiday period which will later be compensated);
- In the higher education sector, it is up to each university to decide whether to adjust the schedule of exams and assessments;
- Childcare schools are kept open for children under 12 whose parents from specific groups (such as health professionals, firemen and security forces, among others) have to work;
- Closure of citizens’ advice bureaux;
- Suspension of deadlines for all non-urgent cases before the courts;
- Parents will have justified absences from work (if they are not working from home) and the same support as was given in the first phase of the confinement, which corresponds to 66% of remuneration.
These additional measures will enter into force on Friday, January 22nd, and will be revaluated within 15 days.
Strengthening of the restrictive measures
The Government decided to strengthen some of the measures adopted in the context of this lockdown period.
The following restrictive measures have been implemented:
- Establishments close at 8pm on weekdays and 1pm at weekends (with the exception of food retail, which at weekends can be open until 5pm);
- No sale or delivery to the wicket in any establishment in the non-food sector (e.g. clothing shops);
- No sale to the wicket of any kind of beverage;
- Restaurants in shopping centres are closed, even the takeaway services;
- All sales campaigns promoting displacement and concentration of people are prohibited;
- Ban on movement between municipalities on the weekends;
- No concentration in public spaces, where you can circulate but not stay (e.g. public parks)
- Prohibition to stay in riverside front areas, with reinforced signs of prohibition to stay in seats, sports equipment and others;
- Senior universities, day centres and social centres are closed.
The Government also stated that these measures will be followed by the strengthening of the supervision of the Working Conditions Authority (ACT) and the security forces, which will have increased presence on the public road, namely in the immediate surroundings of schools.
State of Emergency
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Wesdnesday, the Council of Ministers approved today Decree no. 3-/2021 which regulates the renewal of the state of emergency, which will be in force from 00h00 on January 15th to 11h59pm on January 30th.
The measures adopted by the Decree will be in force for the period of one month and may be extended for a period of 15 days.
We highlight the following general measures:
- Remote working is mandatory;
- Curfew is imposed, except for authorised movements (such as acquisition of essential goods and services, and performance of professional activities when remote working is not possible).
Services and establishments which will close:
- Restaurants, except for take away services and home delivery;
- Hairdressing salons;
- Non essential commerce;
- Cultural activities (such as auditoriums, museums, libraries, art galleries, etc).
In contrast with the measures adopted in the context of the March 2020 lockdown, during this one schools and courts will remain open.
Please click HERE to access to the diploma which renews the state of emergency.
Click HERE to access to the Council of Ministers’ diploma.
Click HERE to access to the decree amending the compulsory remote working regime during the state of emergency.