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State of Emergency update 3rd of April

afpop - 27-04-2020

State of Emergency update 3rd of April

State of Emergency and Easter Restrictions

State of Emergency update and Easter restrictions

1. IRS and IUC payments
2. Residency applications
3. State of emergency
4. Sanitation and funerals
5. Compulsory quarantine at airports
6. Enforcement and penalties
7. Rights of workers
8. Psychological support line
9. Recyclable waste - reminder

I hope you are all well and keeping safe. As you will know there have been further updates on the situation in Portugal but I want to begin by highlighting a few things that we are receiving questions about.

IRS returns and annual vehicle tax payments have not altered. IRS submissions must be done during the months of April, May and June and annual vehicle tax must still be done in the month it is due. It is only the annual roadworthiness inspection for those vehicles which need to be tested that has been delayed and that delay is 5 months from the due date. Please be aware that the traffic on the Finanças website (https://www.portaldasfinancas.gov.pt/) is quite heavy due to the closure of their offices to the public, so there may be a delay In opening the site. It is operating though and delays are not too long, so please be patient when logging in. In our vehicle tax Information Bulletin (M03) we have comprehensive details on how to obtain your reference from Finanças and how to pay and that can be downloaded from the afpop website members’ Area. One question we are being asked is about paying from abroad if you are not in Portugal when the tax is due. This is possible and the Finanças website has information on how to do this by bank transfer, which is written also in English and that information is also included in Bulletin M03.

Residência applications. As we know those residency certificates which are due to be renewed will remain valid until SEF is able to operate fully and open its doors to the public. Those who are due to begin their initial residency application and are unable to visit their local Câmara office to complete the registration should not worry. We are trying to obtain an official reply as to what your status is, but I believe it is reasonable to assume that you will be treated as fairly as those who are waiting to renew an existing Residência and allowances will be made for you too. When the situation returns to normal and Câmara offices open for business again, it is inconceivable to me that they will have a problem if people have missed the three month deadline for registering, particularly as SEF are automatically extended expiry on visas. We will of course continue to seek answers on this and any Member who IS waiting to complete their initial residency application, should contact the afpop office on info@afpop.com and we will contact you back directly if we have any news on that particular situation.

State of Emergency. As was expected and as you all now know the State of emergency was extended for a further 15 days until 17th April. The rules on general mobility weren’t altered or tightened, meaning that travel is possible if necessary for work, but people should stay at home unless they are going to buy food or for general moderate exercise. However travel over the Easter weekend, between midnight on the 8th and midnight on the 13th of April, will be restricted and people will not be allowed to travel outside their “municipality of residence” unless they need to do so for work. It is reasonable I think to assume that ‘work’ had better be something vital to the economy or welfare of others if you are stopped by the police, as you are almost certain to be if you try to enter another concelho and anyone who has to travel to work will need to have a declaration issued by the employer. For those who celebrate Easter it is likely to be a very muted and personal celebration this year, as all churches and other meeting places are closed. The airports in Portugal are also closed over the Easter weekend, to stop anyone leaving or entering the country.

Sanitation and funerals. There are other details that did not appear in the first decree that the Government approved fifteen days ago, such as the obligation of owners of ATM machines, vending machines and the like to constantly disinfect these devices, and the clarification that funeral homes can continue to perform funerals including those of patients with covid-19.

Compulsory quarantine at airports has been revoked according to the Regional Tourist board reply yesterday. There will be testing for people arriving, but it is no longer the case that people arriving in Portugal have to go into self-isolation for 14 days.

Enforcement and penalties. The state is taking a firmer stance against those who disobey the new rules and orders from the authorities. In this new State of Emergency, “disobedience” and “resistance to legitimate orders from the competent entities” may result not only in a criminal sanction but also an increase by one third of the normal penalty. According to reports the penalties may increase to imprisonment for up to a period of one year and four months or a fine of 160 days in less serious cases, or up to two years and eight months and a fine of 320 days in the most serious situations of qualified disobedience.

Rights of workers. It is also worth noting here that the powers of the ‘Authority for Working Conditions’ (A.C.T), the organisation that ensures the rights of workers in Portugal, is to have its powers increased in order to stop companies from unlawfully releasing employees and using Covid-19 as the reason. Any dismissal that they deem to be unlawful will be suspended in order, according to the prime minister António Costa, to stop businesses “abusing and exploiting workers”.

Psychological support line. A support line designed by the Order of Psychologists and the Ministry of Health has been in force since Wednesday. Integrated in the SNS24, it has about 60 accredited psychologists.
The line will be in operation during the pandemic period and is one of the service options available to citizens when calling SNS-24 (808 24 24 24). Some Câmaras also have such help lines and you should find details on their websites.

Recyclable waste: A REMINDER. The waste disposal collections are continuing as you will know, but there are some guidelines from ALGAR 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 are lower that in many other countries. The fact that it took longer to get here gave people more time to prepare and take steps to minimise the possibility of infection and transmission to others. HOWEVER, this is not over and is probably some way from it.

PLEASE don’t relax your guard now. Keep the good practices in play. 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, particularly at birthdays and at Easter or other times when you would get together, it’s important to maintain these measures.

Listen to and HEED the advice of the experts. This is a scary time and the only way to get past this current situation is to keep the good practices going. 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. Please continue to stay safe and be well.
My warmest regards to you all and my best wishes for a healthy April. We are in this together, so let’s be in it together for as little time as possible.

Stay safe

Michael R Reeve
CEO
afpop - Making Life Better

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