Stricter rules and absent tourists put Portuguese restaurants in a difficult situation

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LISBON (Reuters) – Restaurant owners in Lisbon, who already struggle to survive without the usual hordes of summer tourists, expressed dismay at a new measure implemented on Saturday requiring tests or a vaccination certificate to sit at the inside.

“I think it’s a positive step if a lot more certificates are made available to customers,” said Manuel Jorge Alves, 48, owner of a traditional Portuguese restaurant on a street not far from the river in Lisbon.

“But at the moment it’s around 2 million Portuguese … it’s one in five. And we haven’t had any demand from tourists because there have been travel restrictions. This region depends on tourism.

As of Saturday, the Portuguese government imposed a new measure requiring that those who wish to dine indoors in 60 municipalities with high rates of COVID-19 infections must present a vaccination certificate, negative coronavirus test or proof. recovery, in an attempt to contain a worrying increase in daily cases in recent weeks.

Restaurant customers must use the EU’s COVID-19 digital certificate.

The country of 10 million people reported 3,162 new daily cases on Saturday and six deaths, reflecting numbers last seen in February when it was under strict lockdown.

Under current measures, restaurants in risk areas must close at 10:30 p.m., and limit the number of people per table to six outdoors and four indoors.

As cases began to skyrocket, the government ordered restaurants two weeks ago to close after lunch on weekends – but as of this week a new measure requiring the EU’s digital certificate or test entered into force. The measurements are reviewed every Thursday.

“I think it’s a good step, but I think it needs to be done better,” said Hernani Miguel, owner of a lively restaurant and bar serving African and Portuguese cuisine.

“If you can come in with a certificate, once people are in space, why can’t we extend the hours of operation, as long as people have the certificate?” I think this is a question that all restaurateurs agree on.

Reporting by Victoria Waldersee and Miguel Pereira; Editing by Daniel Wallis


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