Portugal to fully reopen land border with Spain on May 1, two days ahead of schedule

Portugal will lift travel restrictions on its land border with Spain on Saturday. Travelers from high-risk countries will still have to quarantine themselves upon arrival.

Lisbon initially planned to ease border control measures on May 3, but decided to do it two days ahead of schedule. The decision was announced after Portuguese businesses and local officials complained about the loss of revenue inflicted by the quarantine measures.

Travel was restricted in January when the both nations experienced a rise in Covid-19 infections. Currently, only people travelling for work, as well as vehicles transporting goods and performing emergency services, are allowed to cross through 18 checkpoints.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said that people coming from countries with high infection rates will still have to be quarantined. “We must remember that nothing is guaranteed in the future. It’s a daily fight. We can’t lose what we have accomplished,” Costa said on Thursday.

Portugal will downgrade the status of the health emergency, which has been in place since November, to a “calamity situation” starting Saturday, when the next phase of reopening begins. People will be allowed to play sports indoors and outdoors, and attend weddings and other gatherings in venues filled up to 50% of capacity. Shops and malls will have their hours extended to 9pm on weekdays and 7pm for weekends and holidays.

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Portugal has had over 836,000 Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, and nearly 17,000 deaths, according to the government. 

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