Spain and Portugal borders re-open May 1

by Lorraine Williamson
Spain and Portugal borders reopen - Bridge between Spain and Portugal

MADRID – On May 1, the borders between Spain and Portugal will reopen. Prime Minister Costa of Portugal announced this on Thursday. The country is emerging from a severe three-month lockdown following a rapid spread of the British variant of Covid-19. 

Border controls were instituted between Spain and Portugal at the end of January due to the increasing number of infections. Initially, this measure would be in force for two weeks. However, it was extended each time because Portugal, in particular, could not get the rapid spread of the virus under control. 

Portugal hit hard by British variant Covid-19 

The country introduced a hard lockdown where people could only go out with a valid reason. Furthermore, all shops, restaurants and schools were closed for three months. During this three month period, there was only a limited border opening where people were only allowed to travel back and forth for essential purposes. These few exceptions included doctor’s visits, goods transport and education. 

The Portuguese healthcare system became overloaded and at its peak, Portugal reported 10,000 new infections every day. Many European countries looked with fear at Portugal, where especially the British version of Covid-19 was quickly spreading. 

Light on the horizon for Portugal 

The Prime Minister of Portugal reported on Thursday that there are only 66 positive people per 100,000 inhabitants in Portugal. As a result, at the beginning of April  the country decided to implement a number of easing measures. For example the reopening of terraces and the schools. 

Even more relaxation in Portugal

Spain and Portugal

In addition to the reopening of borders between Spain and Portugal, the Portuguese government went one step further on Thursday. The catering industry may open again until 10.30pm and people are allowed to sit at a table with a maximum of six. Theatres and cinemas are also allowed to open until 10.30pm and Portugal allows cultural festivities until this time. People are allowed to exercise in groups both indoors and outdoors under certain conditions. All shops are allowed to receive customers from Monday to Friday until 9pm and on weekends this is permitted until 7pm.

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