The government of Portugal will end the majority of its COVID-19 rules as infection rates decline
“This is a very important moment,” Cabinet Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva said at a news conference. “This is another a step towards a return to normal life.”
Among the changes, digital COVID-19 certificates proving vaccination status, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative test will not be needed to enter hotels, restaurants, or cultural venues. They will also not be necessary at nightclubs, sports stadiums, or bars.
In addition, the government will end its work-from-home recommendation.
People who are considered high-risk contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be required to isolate.
“As most other European nations, Portugal experienced a surge in cases last month due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant but the number of daily infections has gradually decreased since the start of February,” per Reuters.
Following the cabinet’s approval, Portugal’s president will need to sign off on the policy changes. Vieira da Silva said the government could end any remaining COVID-19 measures by late March if hospitalization and COVID-19 fatality rates continue to decline.
The country will move from a “State of Calamity” to a “State of Alert,” which will be maintained until March 7.
A digital certificate will still be necessary for anyone entering the country by plane or boat as well as prior to entering hospitals or care homes.
Nationwide indoor mask mandates remain in place.
The announcement comes days after TAP Air Portugal CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener predicted in-flight mask mandates were now the new normal.
“We have put into place so many additional protocols,” she said, speaking to TAP employees in Newark, NJ. “I am absolutely convinced they will stay forever.”
Portugal’s current COVID-19 rules were set to expire on Feb. 9. The nation reports that 90% of its eligible population is fully vaccinated.