With the Easter holidays approaching, many people will be asking if travelling to Portugal is possible. And if so, when? We have the details of the most recent COVID rules and restrictions in Portugal.
Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa recently addressed the nation and has announced the country’s roadmap for easing lockdown measures in Portugal in 2021. While the general lockdown is set to continue until Easter, some restrictions are already slowly being lifted as Portugal once again begins its bid to return to normality after the COVID-19 pandemic. So, when can you travel to Portugal? We have all the details about lockdown easing in Portugal, including the rules and restrictions for the Easter holidays in 2021.
Travelling to Portugal from abroad
Can I currently travel to Portugal? When can I travel to Portugal again? The answer to these questions depends on your destination of origin. Portugal is currently being removed as a red list country across the world and air travel restrictions to and from the country are slowly being lifted, however there are still a wide range of COVID entry requirements in Portugal. Air travel to mainland Portugal is currently allowed for the following territories:
- EU member states;
- Schengen Associated Countries (Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland);
- Australia, China, South Korea, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand and Uruguay.
All travellers entering Portugal must present a negative PCR test taken in the 72 hours prior to travel, while it is also compulsory to fill in a Passenger Locator Card. Take note that, no matter what your country of origin, if you are an official resident in Portugal, you will be allowed to enter as long as you carry proof that you are indeed a resident.
Passengers from countries with a COVID incidence rate of over 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, as well as presenting a negative test upon arrival, must also observe 14 days of self-isolation.
Flights to Portugal from Brazil and the UK remain subject to the strictest restrictions, and travellers from these countries will only be allowed to enter Portugal if they are either Portuguese nationals or residents. These passengers will also have to present a PCR test with a negative result, and upon arriving in Portugal, they must comply with a period of 14 days of quarantine either at home or in a location indicated by the health authorities.
Take note that the restrictions also apply in the Azores and in Madeira, however in these two archipelagos, presenting a negative COVID test suffices without having to self-isolate. In any case, anyone planning to travel to Portugal, or its islands should obtain and confirm information about procedures and restrictions from their airline company and local authorities before travelling as these rules and regulations are subject to change.
Portugal’s roadmap out of lockdown
Stage 1: The first phase of coming out of lockdown in Portugal began on 15th March, with nursery schools and the youngest primary school children returning to school. Some commercial establishments also were able to open for home delivery or click and collect purposes only, while food establishments were also allowed to open for takeaways. This phase also saw the opening of parks, gardens, green spaces and leisure spaces.
Stage 2: The next phase will provisionally take place after the Easter holidays on 5th April which will include the re-opening of museums, palaces and galleries; shops of more than 200m2 may re-open if they open onto the street and physical activity and outdoor training can resume for groups of up to 4 people. Terraces can operate, also for groups of a maximum of 4 people, while more primary school children will be returning to school.
Stage 3: If things go according to plan, cinemas, theatres, auditoriums and concert halls may open their doors on 19th April, along will all other shops and shopping centres. This phase of the lockdown easing in Portugal also includes the opening of restaurants and cafés until 10 pm on working days and until 1pm at the weekend and on public holidays. Groups of 4 people will be allowed inside or groups of 6 people on outdoor terraces. Physical activity outdoors in a group will be possible for 6 people, while outdoor events will be allowed (with reduced attendance/capacity limits).
Stage 4: The final phase on the road to coming out of lockdown in Portugal is set to begin on 3rd May if everything goes according to plan and the number of coronavirus cases doesn't rise. This includes the opening of restaurants and cafés with no closing time limit and in these establishments, groups of 6 people will be allowed to dine inside or group of 10 people on terraces. Large outdoor and indoor events will also be allowed to resume with reduced attendance, including weddings with 50% capacity.
Coronavirus rules and regulations for Easter in Portugal
Whether in the Algarve, Porto, Lisbon or anywhere else, the general rule in Portugal continues to be stay at home, unless absolutely necessary, something to keep in mind if you are planning to travel to Portugal soon.
One of the main restrictions in Portugal during the Easter period is a ban on travelling between municipalities. This will apply from 12:01am on 26th March 2021 and will be in force until midnight on 5th April 2021. Travel will only be admitted for absolutely necessary purposes, and if you have to travel for essential purposes, which may include work or for medical reasons, then you will have to show some sort of evidence of the essential nature of your journey if stopped by the police. Therefore, you may be able to travel to your holiday home in Portugal but remember that you must follow the rules outlined by the local authorities.
Take note that the traditional Easter processions in Portugal are also suspended for Easter 2021, while general lockdown rules such as social distancing, wearing a face mask and teleworking where possible still apply.