Portugal Film Commission, regarding the application of the Decree 3-A/2021, January 14th, and the subsequent questions raised by the audio-visual producers, hereby clarifies that:
The extremely difficult pandemic situation we are facing, obliges all of us to cooperate and respect the norms issued by the Decree 3-A/2021, January 14th, which regulates the state of emergency now proclaimed in the country.
We would like to start by alerting to the fact that confinement is a civic duty, and the pursuit of professional filming activity should, as well as the others, guarantee that same duty.
However, and whenever impossible to suspend or postpone, professional filming may be carried out, under the following interpretation of the diploma.
Thus, it appears that in Decree 3-A/2021, of 14 January, which regulates the new state of emergency, and which came into force at 12:00 am today, 15 January, the economic activity of filming still does not appear in the list of prohibited and/or closed activities, either totally or partially (Annex I).
As previously understood in relation to former decrees, there are no specific limitations on filming activities, which is why it does not make sense to except what is not prohibited by the diploma.
In fact, professional filming is not included in the concept of events, so the restrictions provided for these do not apply. So, and with no special limitations, it will have to be concluded that there is no restriction to professional filming, without prejudice to the guidelines and procedures defined by the DGS (just as it does not exist for other activities that are developed outside and that are also not expressly mentioned, activities that may also involve several people outside, without any foreseen limitations).
Art. 4 of the current Decree law that regulates the extension of the state of emergency refers to the general duty to stay at home, except for travelling purposes authorized by the decree in question.
Paragraph 2 lists the authorized trips, including (al. C) those aimed at carrying out professional or similar activities, when there is no teleworking taking place. And to that same extent, and for that purpose, paragraph 3 allows the circulation of private vehicles on public roads.
Art. 5, on the other hand, imposes teleworking, but expressly points out that it applies to cases where the professional activities allow for it. Now, clearly, the development of filming activities is not compatible with teleworking.
Annex I provides the list of activities that are expressly prohibited, in which filming activities are not included, so it is not an activity that is expressly prohibited.
Annex II, in turn, contains the list of facilities and establishments considered essential and which are an exception to the suspension of trade and retail activities and provision of services in businesses that are open to the public (Art. 15), so it is also not relevant to the question at hand.
The enforcement of this diploma will be monitored by the security forces and services and the municipal police (Art. 41). Even though subparagraph f) of paragraph 1 of that article mentions the dispersion of concentrations above five people, this subparagraph must always be included in the set of provisions of the diploma whose compliance will be subject to inspection.
According to the previous understanding, professional filming is not a prohibited activity, so it is not subject to the above-mentioned limits of agglomerations of five people on the public road (or any other number that the legislation may impose), since what is at stake is the performance of a professional activity, which is not prohibited and which is not liable to be carried out under teleworking, nor of mere circulation and/or permanence on public roads of a social or similar nature.
Therefore, this should be the understanding to be applied by all entities, whether licensors or supervisors.
We further inform that this understanding that is now communicated, was agreed upon and validated by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the Portuguese Government.
Portugal Film Commission is proud of the rigor, professionalism, and sense of responsibility of the national audio-visual producers who, over the past few months, have always adopted effective and efficient Contingency Plans, resulting in the absence of significant outbreaks in filming, despite one or few positive cases of COVID-19 that might have occurred, as in any other sector of activity. The timely detection of these cases, and the compliance with all the safety standards proposed by DGS, meant that none of them had resulted in outbreaks within the teams and, we know, this will have to continue. This responsibility and commitment are what brings us here and allows, whenever impossible to postpone or suspend, that filming is still possible.
The PFC team is, of course, available for any further clarifications.
The Portugal Film Commission team