States of Emergency in Europe: Portugal

Series of overviews by authors of our network on political measures of state of emergency in European countries. The selection will be extended continuously.

The Covid-19 Crisis in Portugal and the Government Management

After the Ministers Council meeting on March 12 a set of legislative and security measures intended to provide a specific level of protection to the community throughout the country, putting the means of civil protection and security forces and services in readiness -, and the measures were announced:


An exceptional human resources regime:

  • suspension of overtime limits;
  • simplifying the hiring of workers;
  • worker mobility;
  • the hiring of retired doctors without being subject to age limits (a list of volunteers had already been created two days ago by the Portuguese Medical Association, with more than 1200 retired or private sector physicians enrolling in less than 24h).
  • A prevention scheme for health professionals directly involved in diagnosis and specialised laboratory response.
  • Exceptional regime for the acquisition of services by bodies, agencies, services and entities of the Ministry of Health.
  • Exceptional scheme for medical boards constitution for the assessment of the health needs of people with disabilities.

Social protection of workers and their families

  • justified absences for employees and independent workers who have to stay at home with their children up to the age of 12;
  • exceptional financial support for employees who have to stay at home with their children up to 12 years of age, amounting to 66% of their basis of remuneration (33% to be paid by the employer, 33% to be paid by Social Security);
  • exceptional financial support for independent workers who have to stay at home with their children up to 12 years of age, amounting to 1/3 of the average remuneration;
  • extraordinary support in case of economic activity reduction of independent workers and deferment of payment of social security contributions;
  • equating to illness the situation of prophylactic isolation for 14 days for employees and independent workers of the general social security system, motivated by situations of serious risk to public health decreed by entities of the health authority. With this amendment, the workers who are decreed by the health authority to be prophylactically isolated will have ensured that 100% of the reference pay during the respective period is paid;
  • sickness benefit is no longer subject to a waiting period;
  • children and grandchildren care allowances are granted in the event of prophylactic isolation.

Mitigation of economic impacts

  • 200 million EUR line of credit to support corporations/entreprises treasuries;
  • EUR 60 million credit line for microenterprises in the tourism sector;
  • Simplified lay off: Extraordinary support for the maintenance of employment contracts in companies in a situation of business crisis, in the amount of 2/3 of remuneration, with Social Security paying 70% of this amount, the remainder being borne by the employer;
  • an exceptional and temporary regime of exemption from the payment of social security contributions during the lay off period by employers;
  • measures to accelerate payments to companies by the Public Administration;
  • extension of tax payment deadlines and other reporting obligations.

Organisation and functioning of public services and other types of establishments

  • suspension of all teaching and non-teaching activities in schools at all levels of education from Monday 16 March;
  • organisation of public services, in particular by reinforcing digital services, establishment of attendance limitations to ensure the possibility of maintaining a safe distance and centralisation of information to citizens;
  • acceptance by public authorities, and for all legal purposes, of documentation whose validity expires during the period of validity of this legislation or in the 15 days immediately preceding or following;
  • restriction of operation of nightclubs and similar businesses;
  • prohibition of passengers disembarking from cruise ships, except for residents;  
  • suspension of visits to nursing homes throughout the national territory;
  • shopping centres and supermarkets will establish frequency limitations to ensure the possibility of maintaining a safe distance.
  • exceptional leaves for volunteer firemen and firewomen that may be called for support in COVID-19 emergency
  • Exceptional dispensation scheme for volunteer firefighters called to reinforce rescue under COVID-19.
  • Creation of a national reserve of personal protective equipment for medical emergencies for fire brigades.


  • exceptional regime for suspension of deadlines, fair impediment, justification of absences and postponement of proceedings.

(courts are closed since last 11 March, except for special cases – for example, for people preventively in jail and awaiting trial)

The disease progression in Portugal can be followed here (the website is updated once per day)