After being in force for exactly 318 days, the rule in Portugal requiring people to cover their mouth and nose in the street, in parks and even at the beach, has finally been lifted.
On Monday, the outdoor mask requirement, which has been in place since the end of October 2020, came to an end in the wake of the continued progress in the battle against the coronavirus.
However, many people continued to wear protective masks on the streets of the capital Lisbon and other cities, following the recommendation of Health Minister Graca Freitas to exercise caution in larger gatherings, even outdoors.
After the summer peak of around 438, the 14-day incidence rate of new infections in Portugal recently fell to 240. The restrictions are therefore being eased.
However, the regulations are much more cautious than in neighbouring Spain, where the number of infections is also declining rapidly but the requirement to wear masks outdoors was lifted two and a half months ago.
Unlike in Portugal, for example, a vaccination certificate, a recovery certificate or a negative test must be presented to enter many types of establishment.
80% fully vaccinated
About 80 per cent of Portugal's 10.3 million inhabitants are already fully vaccinated, one of the highest rates in the world.
Citing the government of Prime Minister Antonio Costa, the newspaper Publico reported on Monday that the 85-per-cent mark would be reached by the end of September.
A total of 84 per cent of all 12 to 17-year-olds have already had the first jab, the report also said.