Mask mandate dropped almost everywhere from today // Alojamento local shouldn't be allowed in residential buildings, Supreme Court decides
Portuguese news in English on Friday, April 22, 2022.
By the numbers
Things are fairly stable again, as you can see from the Directorate-General of Health (edited with English labels) charts below.
Mask mandate dropped almost everywhere from today
After more than two years of pandemic, masks are no longer needed in most of Portugal from today, Público reports. They’ll still be needed in places with lots of vulnerable people or that are difficult to ventilate but are no longer required in schools, restaurants, shops, sporting venues, music venues and other similar locations. But they continue to be mandatory on public transport and in taxis and ride-share cars, as well as nursing homes, pharmacies and health centres. Justifying the decision, Health Minister Marta Temido said the number of COVID-19 patients was “comfortably below” an earlier set target and that, even though deaths remained above the ECDC target of 20/million/fortnight, the all-cause death rate was within the expected range for this time of year.
Alojamento local shouldn't be allowed in residential buildings, Supreme Court decides
An “avalanche” of lawsuits is predicted on the back of a Supreme Court decision that alojamento local (local lodging for platforms such as Airbnb) shouldn’t be allowed in residential apartment buildings, Público reports. The ruling from last month seeks to clear up two contradictory pieces of case law on the subject and goes to the tension between the rights of owners to make money from their property and neighbours to enjoy theirs without disturbance. The precedent, which applies to all AL instances in such buildings no matter when the licence was granted, doesn’t in itself immediately outlaw the practice. Many questions remain about what the practical effects will be but leading judge Paulo Rijo Ferreira, in the decision, notes it allows any apartment owner in the building to oppose an AL. The government is “analysing” the impact of the decisions, Público reports.
German man declared formal suspect in Madeleine McCann case
A German man has been formally declared a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of English girl Madeleine McCann from the Algarve town of Praia da Luz, Diário de Notícias reports. Public prosecutors in Faro said the decision was made on Wednesday by German authorities at their request. Convicted rapist Christian Brueckner, who is in jail for raping a woman in same town, had previously been pointed to as the main suspect by German police. But this designation, while not raising to the level of criminal charges, carries more weight. The Guardian reported, in English, that it’s the first time someone has been named as a formal suspect since Maddie’s parents — who were later cleared — in 2007 and that it could allow him to be extradited to Portugal for questioning. Brueckner’s lawyer, Friedrich Fuelscher, told German newspaper Bild the move was a “procedural trick” related to the statute of limitations on May 3.
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Ukrainian President addresses Portuguese Parliament. Volodymyr Zelenskyy evoked 25 de Abril (the Carnation Revolution) and asked for help with heavy weaponry, reinforced sanctions against Russia and the joint influence of European partners and Portuguese-speaking African nations. (Público)
Dissolution of SEF (Immigration and Border Service) delayed. The government still plans to end the department but says some elements of the transition, particularly regarding border patrol at airports, still aren’t ready. (Diário de Notícias)
Former Home Affairs minister named formal suspect in fatal highway crash. The minister’s driver has been charged with homicide by negligence, after a roadworker was hit and killed. (Público)
On a lighter note
If you like wine, this is probably your sort of event. Enóphilo Wine Fest, in Lisbon tomorrow, will have hundreds of wines to try from dozens of small and medium producers, including a special tasting dedicated to the Alentejo’s amazing talha (amphora) wines, which you can read more about here, in English. Organisers describe Talha DOC as an “event within an event” but there’ll also be a handful of other paid special tastings, Público reports. The Enóphilo website is terrible but there’s more info on Facebook and tickets (€10, more for the paid tastings) at Ticketline.
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