LISBON, Portugal: Portugal began easing its Covid lockdown this week, allowing smaller businesses to reopen.
"This lockdown was more painful, but it is positive we are reopening. It's the best day: the restart. It's time to move forward and I hope we will not need to take a step back," said coffee kiosk owner Pedro Costa, as reported by Reuters.
Portugal suffered the world's worst Covid surge earlier in the year, and imposed a lockdown in January.
Since March 15, however, hair salons, bookshops and schools for younger pupils have reopened.
This week's openings will include cafes and restaurant terraces, museums, non-food markets and fairs, small shops, middle schools and gyms.
"The impact the coronavirus had on gyms was devastating," Joana Silva of Lisbon's Lemonfit gym told Reuters.
"We are still assessing it, but it was undoubtedly disastrous, not only on at a financial level, but also physically and psychologically."
Earlier, Portugal recorded 823,355 cases of Covid and 16,879 deaths. The easing of the lockdown occurred as infection rates slowed.
Assuming there is no resurgence, cinemas, shopping malls, restaurants' indoor spaces and other non-essential businesses will reopen within two weeks.