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Portugal: retail closes, manufacturing is functioning as usual

- 19 Jan 2021

News Portugal: retail closes, manufacturing is functioning as usual
The country is living in another State of Emergency, at least until the 30th of January. Industry, distribution and schools remain open and functioning as usual. Non-essential retail is once again closed
After living a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the beginning of Autumn, the Portuguese Authorities have imposed some restrictions of movements to allow some relaxation over the holidays. However, 2021 has started with an increase in numbers, in terms of new cases (over 10 000 daily, in the last 5 days) and deaths registered (around 150 everyday), which has led to new restrictive measures put in place since last Friday.

The Portuguese government and the President have announced this new lockdown as a necessity to allow the National Health Service some relief. The new confinement differs from the one imposed in March-May 2020 mainly as the schools will continue to function as normal, after many health specialists argue the risk is small compared to the issues raised by closing the schools and impacting the normal learning process for thousands of students.

Industry is On
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Portugal there was never a moment when the industry closed. Manufacturing activities, as well as distribution, medical services and security were always considered vital and as such their doors were never closed. In this new lockdown the situation remains the same and the industry is operating as usual. Circulation of materials and products involved in the manufacturing process is also allowed.

APICCAPS, the Portuguese Footwear Association, considers this to be "vital” for the industry. At the same time, the association is concerned with the fact that "traditional high street retail is closed all over Europe”; but looks with good expectation to the online segment, where the business is growing, "either for companies with their own brand or working with customers who sell mainly online”. Companies are also trying to adapt their portfolio of products, moving towards more casual and comfortable products or for footwear for outdoor activities.

Non-essential Retail Closed
Food retail is considered essential, as some other related to health services, such as pharmacies or dentists, so it will remain open. As clothing and footwear retail is not classified as essential the stores have been ordered to closed. Supermarkets and hypermarkets selling such products will also stop its trade and only allow the acquisition of essential items, such as food. Restaurants cannot serve meals inside their doors but are adapting to take-away service rapidly and most of the non-essential retail is now looking to invest in online services, given the high demand seen on this channel in the last few months.

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