Costa Tells Portuguese to Visit Shops, Eat Out as Lockdown Eases

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(Bloomberg) --

Prime Minister Antonio Costa is encouraging the Portuguese to visit shops and restaurants after the government eased confinement measures that helped limit the coronavirus outbreak while damaging the economy.

Costa went for lunch in central Lisbon on Monday to mark the reopening of restaurants, with capacity limited to half, as the country started the second stage of a plan to relax restrictions. Costa and other European leaders are trying to strike a delicate balance between reviving businesses while averting a second wave of infections.

“The measures we had to adopt to contain the disease had a brutal effect on our economy,” Costa said. “It will take some time for people to regain the confidence to eat out again.”

On Saturday, Costa walked down one of the main shopping streets in Lisbon and said on television that stores were ready to welcome people back after taking all the precautions recommended by health authorities. Although Portugal has been less affected by the outbreak than neighboring Spain, it’s also paying a heavy price for the lockdown. The European Commission expects Portugal’s economy to shrink 6.8% this year

Read more: Europe Faces More Slog Than Snapback in Economy From Virus

The country reported 173 new coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the total to 29,209. Daily infections have been below 270 for the past 10 days.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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