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News from afpop - Wednesday December 9th Update

Michael Reeve - 10-12-2020

News from afpop - Wednesday December 9th Update

Included in this briefing: 1. 9th to 23rd December (and restrictions reminder); 2. 24th to 26th December; 3. 27th to 31st December; 4. 31st December to 4th January; 5. Non-compliance/fines; 6.Travel to the airport; 7. Changes to Highway Code; 8. IRS rates 2021; 9. IVAucher; 10. UK citizens advice; 11. afpop office Christmas closing; 12. Map of risk areas; 13. Interactive Covid-19 map--As nossas desculpas por este artigo não ter tradução --

Included in this briefing:

  1. 9th to 23rd December (and restrictions reminder)
  2. 24th to 26th
  3. 27th to 31st
  4. 31st to 4th January
  5. Non-compliance/fines
  6. Travel to the airport
  7. Changes to Highway Code
  8. IRS rates 2021
  9. IVAucher
  10. UK citizens advice
  11. afpop office Christmas closing
  12. Map of risk areas
  13. Interactive Covid-19 map
I hope you are all well and keeping safe. As always if English or German are not your first language and you need clarification on any of the information included in this mailing, please contact the afpop office to ask for assistance. 
As you will know the government has issued guidelines and restrictions for the coming Christmas and New Year period. As you probably also know, the advice is not too straight forward. I’ll try to make sense of it here for you, after discussions with the authorities, but the best advice I can probably give you is if you don’t need to be out and about over Christmas and the New Year, don’t be. Please also note that the following instructions will be reviewed again on the 18th December, to see if any changes to them are required, so these are not necessarily the final instructions for Christmas/New Year. The government has warned that if the “epidemiological picture has worsened by the 18th December, the restrictions announced may have to be tightened.” We will of course keep you informed if that happens.
The new restrictions came into force today (9TH December) and last until 23h59 on 23rd December, with the additional Christmas measures taking effect between 00h01 on 24th December until 23h59 on January 7th 2021.
9th to 23rd December: The rules already in force remain until midnight on 23rd December. However there are some changes to the areas affected, with some moving up and some down in the risk level. There is an updated map and list in the section below.
Restrictions: As a reminder, there is a restricted curfew on weekdays - between 23h00 and 05h00 and at the weekends, whilst circulation in the Very High and Extremely High risk areas, on Saturday and Sunday is prohibited after 13h00 until 05h00 the following morning.
The general restrictions remain unchanged. It is the civic duty to remain at home. Citizens should refrain from circulating in public spaces and roads, as well as in spaces and private roads equivalent to public roads, except for previously authorised trips, to which are added trips for activities carried out in day centres and to visit residents in residential structures for the elderly and for people with disabilities, as well as trips to stations and post offices , bank branches and insurance brokers or insurance agencies and the necessary trips to leave mainland Portugal.
Celebrations and other events that involve groups in excess of five people are prohibited, unless they belong to the same household and the ban on the holding of fairs and markets is reintroduced, although religious ceremonies and shows according to the rules of the General Directorate of Health may go ahead.
24/25/26 December: Over Christmas period all municipalities are to be treated in the same way and restrictions on travel between them lifted. Citizens may move freely across the country, but this is where it starts to get a little confusing. There is a curfew extension on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On both days the curfew is moved back to 02h00, except for ‘people who are traveling’. As far as we are able to ascertain, this refers to people who may be traveling to spend Christmas with their family, or returning home from such a visit. For example people from Porto who have family in Lisbon and who wish to celebrate Christmas with them can travel to do so and may return home afterwards, even if that means them traveling overnight. On 26th (Boxing Day) the curfew returns to 23h00
Restaurants may remain open until 01h00 on Christmas Eve night (24th) and Christmas Day night (25th), but on Boxing Day (26th) in the very high risk and extremely high risk areas they may only serve lunches until 15h30.
27th to 31st December: The country returns to the restrictions in force according to their risk state until New Year’s Eve (31st).
31st December to 4th January: All municipalities return to lockdown, meaning there is to be no travel between council areas until 05h00 on Monday 4th January, with the general restrictions in force for circulation, gatherings, restaurants etc within the municipality. Public parties are not permitted on New Year’s Eve, but people may circulate in the streets until 02h00, providing they are in groups of no more than 6 people. Restaurants may be open until 01h00, but are not allowed to admit anyone after midnight  
Non-compliance/fines: The restriction on movement between municipalities over the New Year period will be policed more stringently than may have been the case up to now. It is still the case as far as can ascertain that the police or Civil Protection agencies will simply turn people around if they try to cross from one municipality to another without justifiable reason. We have been advised that anyone deemed to be contravening the restrictions and guilty of the offence of civil disobedience will be fined and that the fine will extend to every person in the vehicle. This means that any person in a vehicle deemed to be contravening the lockdown regulations will be fined €250. We are unable to get anyone to confirm this at present and we will of course try to get clarification.
Travel to the airport: One of the questions we are being asked a lot is whether people can take guests to or fetch them from the airport when the travel ban between municipalities is in place. Several Members have contacted us to say that they have been variously advised by police that they can either do both or do neither. Our information has always been that taking people to the airport, with proof of the flight that they are taking, will be allowed but fetching someone from the airport is probably not going to be, as there is no similar proof of the flight. Again we are trying to get clarification, but we suggest that Members think about what they will do if stopped from either taking or fetching a guest and make a decision about the best course of action.  
New changes in the Highway Code: The government has announced some changes to the Highway Code (Código da Estrada) and we will be producing an updated version of our Driving in Portugal (DiP) booklet for Members in the New year, once again in conjunction with our Alliance Partners, MEDAL Seguros. Of particular note are the increase in fines for using a mobile phone while driving (between 250 € - 1250 €), a ban on parking and overnight stays with motorhomes or trailers outside authorised places; the restriction on electric scooters speeds to 25km/h and the possibility of presenting driving documents in a digital format. We will have more information on this in the February edition of UPDATE and in the DiP booklet.
IRS rates 2021: For those who might be interested in the IRS rates for 2021, the Government has made adjustments to the retention tables, reducing all bands slightly, in order to reduce the gap between the monthly payment and the final tax payable or reimbursed for 2021.
IVAucher: No, this is not a typing error and some Members may already have heard of this scheme. This is the name of the government’s new measure for 2021 to try to help with the effects of the pandemic in the sectors of tourism, restaurants, accommodation and culture. Portuguese taxpayers will be able to accumulate the VAT spent in those sectors and will be able to use it later in the same sectors of activity. The measure is set to run in the first quarter of the year, with the amounts accumulated to be used as payment for goods in the second quarter of the year. As soon as we have more details and the actual dates that it will come into force we will inform Members.
UK citizens: We have created a guide to what we know and what is still to be resolved regarding various aspects of life for UK citizens from January 1st 2021. The document, which has been checked with the British Embassy, SEF and IMT, can be downloaded HERE and will be updated as we have answers to the questions still outstanding.
afpop office: As advised in the December UPDATE Magazine, the afpop office will be closed from lunchtime on 23rd December to 09h00 on Monday 4th January 2021. We will of course be monitoring the situation regarding Covid 19 guidelines and if there is any significant change in that period we will of course keep Members informed. However general enquiries will not be dealt with until return to work in the New Year.
Map of risk areas:

We have an updated map, alphabetical list and table of added restrictions are in this LINK
Interactive Covid map: You may find the information in this website interesting
Until next time as always my best wishes to you all and please continue to,

Michael R Reeve
afpop – Making Life Better

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