Portugal’s New Covid Rules Starting Jan. 10, And Where’s My Booster?

Good news, especially if you’re lucky enough to have a booster shot, which also means you’re old, so there.

Portuguese authorities are easing coronavirus containment restrictions, encouraged by the lack of added pressure on the National Health Service despite record numbers of Covid-positive cases driven by the good old Omicron strain, the government announced on Thursday.

As of Jan. 10, isolation is only required for positive Covid cases and their cohabitants, and has been reduced to seven days. Moreover, those with a booster shot are exempt from having to isolate. 

(Read below about the booster.) 

The digital certificate (read more about it here) will be required for restaurants, tourist establishments and local accommodation, cultural events with marked places, and gyms. 

But proof of a negative Covid test will be required for visiting hospice homes and patients at health facilities, as well as for large events without marked places, or in “improvised venues,” as well as sports venues, “unless [Direcção-Geral de Saúde – (DGS – Directorate-General of Health)] decides otherwise,” and we’re not sure what that means.

More good news if you have kids: Schools will reopen on Jan. 10 as well, as planned, with all school staff to get tested within the first two weeks of returning to work. And no more isolating the whole class when there’s a positive case.

On Jan. 14, bars and clubs will reopen, and will require proof of a negative Covid test — unless you have the booster shot! (Are there going to be a lot of old people getting hammered now?) 

Related: Update: Where to Get a COVID Test in Lisbon and sthe Rest of Portugal

But no luck if you want to have a boozy evening out with store-bought alcohol: consumption of alcoholic beverages continues to be banned in public, except on a venue’s terrace.

Commercial establishments, meanwhile, will have a maximum capacity of one person per every five square meters of their space. 

And remote work will remain mandatory only until Jan. 14, and then merely recommended thereafter. 

But masks continue to be required when inside commercial and other public spaces and on public transit, so mask up.

You can read more on the government’s website here, in Portuguese (note that the English version is usually delayed and as of Thursday night was still listing rules from the previous period).

Where’s My Booster?

On that booster shot: As of Jan. 2, around 29% of the Portuguese population has received a booster shot (which lags behind the U.K., Germany, Spain, among others, but is ahead of the U.S. and Brazil, for example, according to Our World in Data).

Currently, those eligible for the booster in Portugal are anyone over 55 and those over 40 who had received the Janssen shot more than 90 days ago, according to DGS

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