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Ponta Delgada ,  May 29, 2020

Statement by the Government of the Azores on the relaxation of confinement measures to be implemented in the Autonomous Region of the Azores in June

"The permanent monitoring on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Azores allows us to conclude that the number of positive cases recovered in the Region has registered a continuous growth, with only two positive cases registered to date on the island of São Miguel, as well as that the transmission chains in the Region are practically extinct, except for one, already restricted and without dissemination on that island.
This context also allows us to conclude that the procedures approved by the Government of the Azores to contain the spread of the SARS-COV-2 virus in the Region are effective, which has been achieved through the observance, commitment and responsibility of the Azorean population regarding the adopted measures.
Hence, the civic awareness and behaviour of the Azorean people will never be overemphasised as they have been crucial for the positive results that we have been able to accomplish in the fight against this pandemic.
The Government of the Azores, following the social and economic measures that have been defined and implemented for the lifting of confinement and after hearing the Regional Health Authority, considers that, in continuing to prioritise public health, the conditions are in place to resume several activities in the month of June gradually and within the constraints of the current situation. This is the case of activities relating to the mobility of the Azoreans in the archipelago, through air public air and maritime transport operations, which are under the responsibility of the public companies SATA and Atlanticoline, respectively.
Accordingly, having heard the Association of Municipalities of the Autonomous Region of the Azores and the Regional Delegation of the National Association of Parish Councils, the Council of the Government of the Azores has decided to:
- Determine, at the level of readiness and response, under the Legal Scheme on the Civil Protection System of the Autonomous Region of the Azores:
a) The extension of the state of public disaster declaration on the islands of São Miguel and Terceira until 12 am of June 15;
b) The transition from the state of emergency declaration to the state of alert declaration on the islands of Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial until 12 am of June 15;
c) The extension of the state of alert declaration on the islands of Santa Maria, Flores and Corvo until 12 am of June 15.
The implementation of the above is coordinated by the Azores Regional Civil Protection and Fire Service, which is hereby authorised to request the cooperation of security forces as well as to use the regional administration's human and material resources whenever necessary.
- Approve, as concessionaire and under the Concession Agreement on Public Inter-island Air Transport Obligations, the resumption of SATA Air's inter-island flight connections from 12 am of May 29, Friday, on a gradual basis, according to company's operational capacity.
- Set the date of July 1 as the deadline for the normalisation of the operations of SATA Air Açores by the concessionaire under the Concession Agreement of Public Service Obligations.
- Approve, under the Contract for the Provision of Public Service for the Maritime Transport of Passengers and Vehicles in the Autonomous Region of the Azores, the resumption of the maritime transport of passengers and vehicles by Atlânticoline between the islands of Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge and Faial from 12 am of May 29 under the terms agreed.
- Determine that, from 12 am of June 1, the procedures defined in the Resolution no.152/2020 of the Council of the Government of May 28, i.e. the same rules defined for those arriving in the Region by air, shall apply to the crews of yachts docking at regional ports and marinas. Their application to yacht crews will be carried out with the necessary adaptations, namely the consideration of the travel time for quarantine purposes and the consideration of the vessel for accommodation purposes.
- Determine, for the islands of São Miguel, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial, the reopening of social centres from 12 am of June 1 under the terms and conditions determined by the Regional Health Authority.
- Determine, for the entire archipelago, the cessation of manning limitations in recreational fishing vessels from 12 am of June 1.
- Determine, for the entire archipelago, the suspension of public events organised by the Regional Government until 12 am of June 15 and a recommendation to all public entities, namely local authorities, and private entities for the suspension of events open to the public in the same period.
- Maintain, for the islands of São Miguel, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial, the suspension of activities and the closure of the following infrastructures and establishments until 12 am of June 15:
a) Activities in indoor swimming pools, except for professional and high performance athletes in training context, provided that the respective competitions will still take place;
b) Spas or similar establishments.
In fact, this means that the reopening of auditoriums, cinemas, theatres and concert halls, gyms and similar establishments, casinos and gambling establishments, among others, are authorised from June 1.
The specific rules for the prevention and operation of these establishments are being defined by the Regional Health Authority.
- Determine, for the entire archipelago of the Azores, the maintenance of the following measures until 12 am of July 1:
a) Suspension of all travel for Regional Administration workers, including public institutes or public companies, outside the Region
b) Suspension of all travel for external entities requested by the Regional Administration to the Region, including public institutes and public companies, unless absolutely necessary and as long as duly authorised by the Regional Health Authority;
c) Recommendation to other regional public and private entities for the adoption of the same procedure regarding the travel of their workers outside the Region.
- Extend, until 12 am of June 15, the guidelines, as sole shareholder, for the Board of Directors of Azores Airlines to suspend all air links from outside the Region, except flights stipulated under public service obligations for the transport of cargo and in cases of force majeure, provided that duly authorised by the Regional Health Authority.
It is essential to clarify that all these measures can be reversed or annulled at any time, taking into account the evolution of the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Region.
We will not hesitate to do so if this is justified.
We will continue to monitor the evolution of the pandemic on a continuous basis, and we will not hesitate to change procedures and take the necessary measures if this evolution justifies it, always safeguarding the health and safety of the Azoreans as the main priority.
 We have achieved a lot so far, as a result of the commitment, compliance and great civic awareness of the Azorean people.
Today, there is less risk than two and a half months ago.  But there is still considerable risk.
We cannot and should not underestimate this fact.
The transition that we are promoting now must be done carefully and gradually so that, in a few days, we do not jeopardise what we have achieved in more than two months and do not have to go backwards.
The protection of all begins with the protection of each one of us."


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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