By Catarina Demony and Victoria Waldersee
LISBON – Holidaymakers in Portugal will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test, a vaccination certificate or proof of recovery to stay in hotels or other holiday accommodation, the government announced on Thursday, as cases continue to rise.
Negative tests, vaccination certificates or proof of recovery will also be required to eat indoors at restaurants in 60 high-risk municipalities, including the capital Lisbon and the city of Porto, on Friday evenings and at the weekend.
“For a long time, the only measure we had to our disposal was limiting economic activity,” Cabinet Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva told a press conference. “With the digital certificate, and the more frequent availability of tests, we have other ways of guaranteeing security.”
Holidaymakers and restaurant-goers can use the EU digital COVID-19 certificate. Rapid antigen tests will be valid, the minister said, and can be provided by hotels at check-in.
Portugal’s restaurants association said in a statement “there were already too many rules and restrictions” and that the measures risk driving customers away.
“This (requirements to enter restaurants) could destroy the ray of hope for many business people,” the association said.
The measure will allow restaurants to reopen for dinner on Saturday and Sunday in high-risk areas, where they were forced to shut for the two previous weekends.
A night-time curfew, already in place 45 municipalities, will be extended to a further 15 municipalities moved to the high-risk list including Faro, the main city in the popular southern Algarve.
Portugal, whose population numbers 10 million, reported more than 3,000 daily coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic to 899,295. Nearly 90% of new cases in Portugal are of the more infectious Delta variant.
The number of new daily cases has been rising steadily in recent weeks, returning last week to levels last seen in February when the country was under a strict lockdown.
Still, daily deaths remain well below February levels with new cases primarily reported among younger, unvaccinated people.