Speaking to Lusa, the president of the Portuguese Association of Bars and Discotheques and Entertainers explained that last year, when these establishments began to open, but with many restrictions, he presented the proposal to the then mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina (PS).

"The project was made by the direction of the association together with an agency. It consisted of 'barricading' the neighbourhood by placing testing centres at all access points, which would mean that there wouldn't be those queues that now exist in Largo de Camões of three and four hours waiting for people to do the test. There was testing around the neighbourhood, and those who tested negative would be given a bracelet that would allow them to walk around inside as if there was no covid, and those who tested positive would not enter, and would be identified to go into isolation", explained Ricardo Tavares.

The president of the association said that he spoke of the project with Fernando Medina, who found it "interesting", and asked that it be presented to the council.

"We presented it, he didn't give us an answer for two months, but then came the campaign for the local elections and nothing was resolved", he said.

The association, already campaigning for the local elections, broached the subject with Carlos Moedas (PSD) during a visit to Bairro Alto.

"We spoke about the project with Carlos Moedas, he asked us to send it, as he found the project interesting. In the meantime we sent emails asking for a meeting and we are waiting for a date", he referred.

Ricardo Tavares highlighted to Lusa that this project may be applied in other nightlife areas of the country.

"Downtown Porto or the Oura area are areas of the country where it could also be done, allowing the country to slowly return to what it was before the pandemic," he stressed.

Contacted by Lusa about this project, the president of the Bairro Alto Traders Association, Hilário Castro, considered that the practical effect of the project is practically null.

"Everything that can improve and minimize the impact of the situation is beneficial, now this part already happens. Within what is possible, the tests are already being done. There are three centres around Bairro Alto, but that doesn't solve much because even the centres that exist don't have enough capacity for the public that comes to this area", he explained.

In Hilário Castro's opinion, the project doesn't make much sense and "the effect is almost null".

"The objective is that people who would like to come to the restaurants and bars use these centres - but anyone can use them. That thing serves for everything and often takes away the effect it was set up for, and our clients end up giving up because the queues are enormous", he said.

In Hilário Castro's opinion, the big problem is in the fulfilment of rules to stop the covid-19 pandemic.

"People don't comply with the rules, they don't wear a mask, nor [comply] with the distancing. The big problem is here," he said.

Lusa news agency tried unsuccessfully to contact the president of the Misericórdia parish council, Carla Madeira.