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Regional Government Admits – This is a Risky Decision

Today, the 4th of May, Madeira began to come back ‘online’ with public services and shops re-opening under strict rules, such as the mandatory use of masks in commercial establishments and buses, while workers will have their temperatures checked twice a day. Even with these in place, the Regional Government has conceded that this is indeed a ‘risky decision.’

All service providers are obliged to wear a mask, visor or both while all customers are required to wear masks inside commercial spaces and on public transport. Onboard ticket purchases on buses will resume, increased bus frequencies with capacity capped at 50%.  Drivers are authorised to prevent passengers not wearing a mask from boarding.

New rules state that workers body temperatures are monitored twice a day, both at the beginning and end of workers shifts.  All collected data, the President will be kept secure to ensure adequate data protection for everyone. As of today, retail or service establishments, shopping centres and hairdressers and barbers will open doors in the autonomous region after, in a first phase, the government ordered the resumption of the activities of the extractive industry, manufacturing, construction and related industries.

Bars, restaurants, terraces and nightclubs remain closed, only the takeaway service is allowed.

Schools will also remain closed throughout May, as the Madeiran executive says he does not want to “take risks” with the safety of children and young people.

In addition to the “clear safety rules” regarding the hygiene of employees and customers and the disinfection of spaces and objects, the Regional Government resolution states that “the trying on of clothes, footwear, accessories, jewellery among others is prohibited, as the exchange of said items unless specifically ruled by law.”

All commercial establishments are limited to one-third of their capacity, either in the number of people or in the number of parking spaces. Shopping centres must follow the international ratio of one person per 25m² of useable space.

Furthermore, all commercial establishments will be “actively monitored” by the Regional Economic Activity Authority (ARAE) and other entities. This morning fifteen ARAE inspectors monitored Funchal’s busy networks of shops ensuring that all traders are aware of the government guidelines.  As well as not being able to try on clothes and shoes, they also insist that customers do not touch clothing and that they are not to handle bottles or accessories, and must ask an employee for assistance.

Despite the resumption of commercial activity, Madeira Airport will continue to restrict passenger flights to two per week, and all disembarking passengers (maximum of 100 per week), will have to undergo a mandatory quarantine period.

The ports and marinas of the archipelago remain closed.

Samantha Gannon

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Madeira Weekly