Taking in consideration the increasing numbers of those infected with the Covid-19, a State of Emergency has been declared in Portugal on …. and multiple special measures and legislation have been approved. This is the first such declaration since the 1976 Constitution has been in place.
What changes will occur as a result of this special legislation?
What does State of Emergency mean?
The legislation allows the suspension of certain rights, liberties and guarantees of the citizens in order to deal with an exceptional situation. These are states of exception that can only be declared in cases of effective or imminent aggression by foreign forces, of serious threat or disturbance of the democratic constitutional order or of public catastrophe/adversity (as it is the case of the Pandemic).
Its declaration and execution must respect the proportionality principle and be limited, namely regarding its extension, duration and means, to what is strictly necessary for the prompt restoration of constitutional normality.
What measures can be determined?
The law only provides the limits of measures, giving a wide margin for their definition. In the case of a health emergency, such as this, and in order to contain the new coronavirus, the measures must be particularly restrictive of the mobility of citizens, and may reach quarantine or mandatory isolation.
All public social activities as well as cinematographic or theatrical performances are suspended, but under no circumstances may meetings of statutory bodies of political parties, unions and professional associations be prohibited.
Circulation of people and vehicles are limited or prohibited, being the authorities responsible for ensuring the necessary means to comply with the provisions of the declaration, in particular with regard to the transportation, accommodation and maintenance of the affected citizens.
Citizens will maintain the right of access to the courts to defend their rights, freedoms and guarantees, threatened by any unconstitutional or illegal measures.
How long does it last?
The special legislation will have its duration limited to what is strictly necessary to safeguard the rights and interests in question and the restoration of normality. It can be declared for a period of 15 days, renewable.
Being in Portugal, and as a Portuguese resident, can I freely travel abroad?
No, multiple restrictions were applied to the entrance and exit of Portugal by land and by airplane, so although these travels still occur there are various limitations. In fact, it is forbidden all air travels to and from Portugal to all countries that are not part of the European Union, with the exception of:
- The United Kingdom, Venezuela, Canada and South Africa;
- Countries associated with the Schengen area (Liechtenstein, Norway, Island and Switzerland);
- Portuguese speaking countries.
Also, and in the European Union, all air travels to and from Spain and Italy are banned.
Can I travel to Spain by car?
No, the boarders are closed and heavily controlled. It is only allowed the circulation of goods and cross-border workers.
If I travel to Portugal from a foreign country, do I need to stay in quarantine?
No, it is only mandatory if, at the airport control that now exists, the person reveals symptoms or suspicious signs of COVID-19.
However, the regional governments of the islands of the Azores and Madeira have decreed the mandatory quarantine of all passengers arriving at airports in the two regions. The decision covers all passengers, regardless of nationality or residence, or having any record of symptoms or contacts with infected people.
Are the Tax Authorities Services closed?
No, and in case it is necessary to resolve any issue it is possible to contact the Tax Authorities through the website (www.portaldasfinancas.gov.pt) or phone number (217 206 707).
And what if I need to resolve an issue with the Tax Authorities in person?
In case there is an urgent and pressing matter that must be resolved personally at the Tax Authorities, it is possible to schedule a personal meeting through the website (https://www.portaldasfinancas.gov.pt/pt/consultaAtendimentoPresencial.action) or by calling to the Tax Authorities number (217 206 207).
Multiple tax deadlines were suspended/prorogued. Do I still need to fill my IRS tax return?
It is expected that the deadline for the filling of the IRS tax return of individuals will not change, so, until further notice, it should be filed on or before 30th June.
My Landlord terminated my renting contract. Am I obligated to leave?
The effects of the termination of the contract by the Landlords are now suspended, so Tenants are not obliged to leave their properties. However, when this special state ends, the termination of the contract by the Landlords shall produce its effects.
Is this valid only for habitation contracts, or all types of renting contracts?
It is valid to all renting contracts, for habitation and commercial.
What are the consequences for those who do not comply with the measures included in the Special Legislation?
Whoever fails to comply with the measures established in the Declaration of the State of Emergency will be guilty of a crime of disobedience and punished with imprisonment for up to 1 year or with a fine.
Despite this exceptional situation EDGE will continue to operate as normally as possible will all our legal and administrative staff working as normal and available to assist remotely.
We will maintain our ongoing commitments with our clients and we are available to assist with any situations that may occur and provide assistance in this challenging period.
EDGE will continue to assist and provide advice throughout this situation.