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The Council of Ministers approved the decree that regulates the extension of the state of emergency decreed by the President of the Republic, as well as a new set of extraordinary measures to respond to the epidemiological situation of the new Coronavirus-COVID-19:

Below you can read the full communiqué of the Council of Ministers, which is divided into nine groups of measures.

1. The Council of Ministers approved a decree that aims to establish the terms of the exceptional and temporary measures to be implemented during the state of emergency, among which, are:

- the limitation, in the period between 00:00 on 9 April and 24:00 on 13 April, of circulation outside the municipality of habitual residence of citizens, except for health reasons or other reasons of imperative urgency;

- prohibition of gatherings of more than five people, except people with family ties;

- the maintenance of the activity of the undertakings’ companies and the provision of funeral services for the dead diagnosed with COVID-19;

- the reinforcement of the means and powers of the Authority for Working Conditions (ACT), allowing that whenever there is evidence of an illegal dismissal, the labor inspector draws up a report and notifies the employer to rectify the situation.

2. It was approved the decree-law establishing exceptional and temporary measures relating to the pandemic of the disease COVID-19, adapting them to the current situation and ensuring that these effectively will prevent the proliferation of registered cases of contagion. Therefore, the diploma aims to:

- extend the exceptional regime of supplemented and extraordinary work to private institutions of social solidarity, non-profit associations, cooperatives and other entities of the social economy;

- extend, until April 30, 2020, the deadlines for forest clearing operations;

- dispense with the collection of user fees for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 disease;

- recognize the evidential strength of digitalized copies of the contracts, if the party against which they are presented does not require the display of that original;

- make it possible for the approval and affixation of the vacation map to take place within 10 days after the end of the state of emergency;

3. It was approved a resolution which, following the COVID-19 pandemic, extends the effects of the declaration of the situation of calamity and the health fence in the municipality of Ovar until April 17, 2020, without prejudice to extension or modification in view of the evolution of the epidemiological situation.

4. It was approved a law proposal, to be submitted to the Assembly, which establishes an exceptional regime with a view to increasing the capacity and speed of response of local municipalities, in the framework of the COVID-19 disease pandemic.

Therefore, the diploma aims to provide public entities that are closer to the population with more efficient and effective responses to support people in situations of vulnerability, as well as suspending some of the rules for making commitments and late payments by public entities, to provide social support and the making of expenditure associated with the response to the pandemic.

5. It was approved the decree-law, which defines the procedures for allocating financing and compensation to essential transport operators, in the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting from the epidemiological situation that led to the declaration of a state of emergency.

Considering the measures adopted to limit the circulation of collective means of transport in order to preserve public health and guarantee the safety of users and workers, with direct impacts on the reduction of public transport operators' revenues, it is justified the development of mechanisms that promote the sustainability of those companies and allow the maintenance of the public passenger service at levels that allow to satisfy minimum mobility needs.

6. It was approved the decree-law that changes the deadline for implementing electronic invoicing in public contracts.

Taking into consideration the complexity associated to the application of electronic invoicing in public contracts, particularly aggravated in the current pandemic context, it is intended to mitigate its potential impact on contracting parties, extending those deadlines until June 30, 2021, for small and medium-sized enterprises, and until December 31, 2021, for micro-enterprises. It is also introduced an amendment in order to minimize the risk arising from the handling of paper documents in the process of issuing invoices, especially relevant in the current context.

7. It was approved the draft law, to be submitted to the Assembly, which establishes an exceptional regime for easing the execution of sentences and grace measures, in the framework of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The specificities of the prison environment advise to take precautions, actively and strategically, related to the emergence of outbreaks of infection in prisons, in order to prevent the risk of its spread and to safeguard the life and physical integrity of prisoners.

In this emergency context, the Government proposes the adoption of exceptional measures to reduce and make the execution of the prison sentence and its pardon more flexible, which, guided by criteria of equity and proportionality, allow to minimize the risk arising from the concentration of people inside the prison facilities, ensuring social isolation and promoting the social reintegration of convicted prisoners, without breaking the social order and feeling of community security.

In the framework of the public health emergency caused by the disease COVID-19, the present law establishes, exceptionally, the following measures: a pardon of prison sentences; a special regime of pardon of sentences; an extraordinary regime of administrative exit for convicted prisoners; and the extraordinary anticipation of conditional release.

8. It was approved, generally, the decree-law that establishes exceptional and temporary measures to respond to the pandemic COVID-19, within the scope of state ownership systems for water supply and wastewater sanitation.

The diploma proceeds to partially defer the execution of debt regularization agreements, as well as to extend the deadline for the assignment of credits by managing entities of multi-municipal systems or other systems of state ownership of water supply and wastewater sanitation, and by the managing entities of partnerships between the State and the local municipalities.

9. The Council of Ministers authorized expenditure, by the Directorate-General for Schools, on the following procedures:

- celebration of cooperation contracts for the academic year 2020/2021, which aim to provide financial support to cooperatives and special education associations and private social solidarity institutions that develop educational activities and support the school in the promotion of the educational success of children and student with need of mobilizing measures to support learning and inclusion;

- financial support to the Resource Centers for Inclusion resulting from the celebration of cooperation contracts for the academic year 2020/2021, which aim to provide financial support to the Resource Centers for Inclusion (CRI) that assist the school in promoting the educational success of children and students with need of mobilizing measures to support learning and inclusion;

- provision of meals prepared in education establishments of  the continent, during the period from 1 September 2020 to 31 August 2022.

In, Executive Digest