Included in this briefing: (with changes pertaining to Madeira outlined)
- State of Emergency update
- Dia de Liberdade
- Land clearance reminder
- IRS, IMI and IUC reminder
- Recyclable waste reminder
I hope you are all well and keeping safe. As always I apologise that these briefings are only available in English and German, but translating to all languages would simply not be feasible and I hope that those Members whose first language is not English or German will understand the information in the mailings, but if not of course you can contact the afpop office to ask for clarification.
As you know the State of Emergency is to continue until 2nd May. During this period the government has not implemented any additional measures, but kept the restrictions and guidelines on sanitation, social distancing and self-isolation in force. The government and its advisors are now discussing what happens after the 2nd May and whether the current restrictions will remain as they are or be amended. Some things however we do know already. (as released today new measures to reflect the same for Easter will be in force for May bank holiday)
Schools will remain closed now until their scheduled opening in September for the start of the new school year, with classes being held remotely and by video.
Over the next few days we will begin to hear more about what kinds of businesses, if any, are to see restrictions eased and also what will happen regarding public transport and air travel. As soon as we have confirmation of any of these restrictions we will of course inform Members.
The use of masks is still only an advisory measure at the moment, but the government and local Câmaras are advising citizens, particularly those in the ‘at risk’ groups, to wear them whenever they are out of their homes. In particular in supermarkets or on public transport. There is some discussion about whether the use of masks may be made compulsory in order to allow for shops etc to begin to open and for travel on public transport, but this is NOT in force at the moment and is only one of the things that the government is discussing. Several Câmaras are now issuing masks and also most pharmacies now have masks in stock and also gloves and disinfectant gel.
Beaches – A “Procedures Manual on access to beaches” is being prepared to avoid crowds of people gathering with the arrival of good weather. This is being developed by the government with the assistance of several organisations, including the Portuguese Navy (Marinha Portuguesa) , the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA -Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente ), the Institute of Relief to Castaways (ISN – Instituto de Socorro a Náufragos) and the Directorate-General for Health (DGS – Direção-Geral da Saúde). The discussion will centre around numbers of people allowed on a beach, how to patrol them and what distances people need to observe if they go to the beach. This will be a very interesting document to read.
The Dia de Liberdade, or 25 de Abril, celebrations this year will of course not take place as usual, but you may still hear residents opening their windows and having an ‘Italian’ style street party on Saturday. Perhaps feel free to join in and celebrate with our Portuguese neighbours, at a safe distance of course.
Fire Clearance: The extended deadline for home owners to ensure the cleanliness of land around their properties expires next week on April 30. Remember that property owners are obliged to clean tree limbs and flammable material and clean their land in a strip of not less than 50 metres around their homes, as we have published in UPDATE each year.
Finanças: Information regarding IRS, IUC and IMI payments are in a previous e-mail sent on 3rd April, which is still available with all the previous mailings on the afpop website for new Members or those who may have missed the mailings.
Recyclable waste: A REMINDER. The waste disposal collections are continuing as you will know, but there are some guidelines that you should pay attention to.
Masks, gloves and handkerchiefs are not recyclable; they must always be disposed of in regular trash. These materials are apparently appearing, in large quantities, in Eco-points, ending up in the sorting lines. In addition to not being recyclable, they can be contaminated.
Contaminated waste is not recyclable; it must always be disposed of in regular waste. This rule applies to all persons who have contracted COVID-19 or who are quarantined for the same suspicion. Anyone in quarantine should have their waste placed in two bags, one inside the other, tightly closed. These bags must not be full or compacted – they just have to be tightly closed and deposited inside the regular waste container.
Finally: We are fortunate in Portugal that the numbers of infected people and particularly deaths from the virus continues to remain lower that in many other countries. HOWEVER, this is not over and is probably still some way from it.
PLEASE don’t relax your guard now. Wash your hands regularly and cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, preferably with either a tissue or your forearm but not your hands. Clean surfaces often and keep the social distancing measures. As annoying and alien as it can be to have no contact with others, it’s important to maintain these measures.
Listen to and HEED the advice of the experts. The longer we can all do this, the less time we will have to.
On behalf of the whole team here I thank you again for all the kind and supportive comments that we have received and send you our warmest regards.
Until next time my best wishes to you all and please,
Michael R Reeve
afpop – Making Life Better