Portugal: Nightclubs on São Miguel island to be closed until 1 September

The government of Portugal’s Azores region has decided to close all nightclubs on São Miguel from Thursday until 1 September, and to limit the opening hours for bars on the island to 10 p.m., due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a news release sent out after Tuesday’s virtual cabinet meeting, the fact that there are currently 27 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19 in Sao Miguel called for a reinforcement of containment measures.

“The situation that inspires greater care and calls for greater attention is that of proof of the existence of at least one local transmission chain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with incidence in the municipalities of Ponta Delgada and Vila Franca do Campo,” the note said, referring to parts of São Miguel.

The text continues: “The analysis carried out by the Regional Health Authority shows that the universe of individuals related to this local chain of transmission – positive cases and close contacts – is around 20/30 years old and that the main places of contamination are night recreational spaces.”

It also states that “there is growing evidence of non-compliance with public health recommendations issued in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, namely, the existence of gatherings and the absence of mask wearing.”

In mainland Portugal bars and nightclubs have been closed since the start of the lockdown in March; currently they are only allowed to operate as cafés or snackbars, closing at 8 p.m. or 10 p.m. if they serve food, with socially distanced tables and with no dancing.