Protests held in Lisbon as Covid restrictions tighten

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A busker plays the accordion just before a curfew comes into effect in downtown Lisbon on November 9, 2020. - Portugal introduced a curfew across most of the country in an effort to combat surging case numbers. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)
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Protests have taken place in Portugal as hundreds of bar, restaurant and nightclub workers voiced their objection to increased Covid-19 restrictions.

One protester, Paula Barroso said her bar in Lisbon has been shut for eight months, forcing her to let some workers go due to the economic impact of the pandemic.

Now she is scared she will not be able to make ends meets much longer.

Protested in the capital today as a partial weekend lockdown kicked in across most of the country.

"We are in mourning and we have to survive," Ms Barroso said as she stood among a crowd calling on authorities to allow them to work.

"The government does not support us and we cannot die, we cannot stay in the dark."

Bars and nightclubs have been closed since March and although restaurants have since reopened, owners and workers fear that the new restrictions to fight the virus could kill the sector.

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At weekends, a lockdown is in place from 1mp to 5am, during which all commercial outlets and restaurants must shut with some exceptions.

Companies are making an effort to carry on, but it may be the death of many because they can no longer bear it.

A night-time curfew is also in force during weekdays.

Portuguese chef Paulo Silva said a recent €25 million government scheme allowing restaurants to apply for compensation to make up for income lost over the weekend is not enough.

"I had 23 employees and I already had to fire eight," said Mr Silva, who has already closed one of his two restaurants.

"It was the saddest day of my life and now I can't take it anymore."

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"Companies are making an effort to carry on, but it may be the death of many because they can no longer bear it," said 48-year-old chef Paula Janeiro.

The government of Prime Minister Antonio Costa says the new measures are necessary to bring the pandemic under control and avoid stricter restrictions next month.

The country of just over 10 million people has recorded 211,266 coronavirus cases and 3,305 deaths.

Like much of the rest of Europe, it is now battling a second wave of infections as cases hit 6,653 on Friday, the highest daily figure since the pandemic started.

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