State of emergency for Madeira

State of emergency for Madeira: life goes on

So what we expected already happened yesterday: the state of emergency for Madeira – and in the whole of Portugal – is a fact. That all sounds pretty scary, but it’s only really scary if we don’t know what it all means for us. We had to wait a while for more news, but last night, after a speech by Portugal’s president, the media reported on the exact content of the state of emergency. You have to know that a state of emergency can only be declared when the exact content of that state of emergency has been defined. That has now been done, and I’ll try and give you the essentials. Before all, I say it again: I steer clear of fake news and sensationalism as I explained here.

So which limitations come with the state of emergency?

The state of emergency on Madeira is the same as the one for continental Portugal. This is the essence of what it entails.

Stay at home. But you are allowed to go out for:

  • food shopping
  • getting fuel for your car
  • visits to a doctor or a pharmacy
  • banking
  • necessary exercise
  • walking your dog
  • work, if you can’t do it from home.

Virtually everything is closed, like bars and restaurants (except for takeaways), everything concerning recreation and sports, churches, and the town hall for services to the public. Only shops selling essentials for people and animals remain open.

Not everything about this state of emergency is clear

Some things remain vague. In principle, you are supposed to do your shopping ‘unaccompanied’. Whether this means you can’t take your partner when you go food-shopping has not been specified. My opinion: if it isn’t necessary to take your partner, then don’t.

Even before the state of emergency was declared, the number of customers allowed in a shop was limited. I think it’s a bit anti-social to occupy a place in the shop if you don’t really have to, as someone else has to wait longer. After the state of emergency was declared, the rule hasn’t changed but is applied more strictly.

All in all, for us personally, the situation with a declared state of emergency for Madeira is quite liveable. Staying at home? Not a problem. The food supply is still adequate.

State of emergency for Madeira: life goes on and we count our blessings

Back to the Netherlands?

We have booked our flights back to the Netherlands for the 7th of May. At present, we have no clue if these flights will actually go. At this moment, air traffic between Madeira and Lisbon has been reduced to three flights a day. Flights between Lisbon and Amsterdam have gone down to only two per week. If all else fails, we could even stay on Madeira over the summer. We shall just have to wait and see what happens.


Of course, the rental season seems pretty much down this year. We have a small number of bookings, but we don’t know if the guests will be able to travel to Madeira when the time comes. If they can’t we probably can’t travel either and we may well consider staying put. And honestly, it would not be a hardship. Life goes on regardless, and we count our blessings. We have a lot of space, fresh air, sun (if there is any), and we are allowed to shop for food. So no reason to complain, on the contrary. We can only be grateful for being relatively well off, especially if we think of those cooped up in a tiny apartment, with only concrete for view and gloomy news shows for amusement. We have a beautiful house, a lovely garden, a stunning view, plenty of books, more TV stations than we care to look at, and if we get bored, there are plenty of little odd jobs in and around the house.


By Peter Groen

Peter was born in Amsterdam in 1949. He has a history in PR and copywriting. Now, part time resident of the Island of Madeira of over 10 years, he writes about Madeira, its culture, its overwhelming nature, its food and drink, and about everything concerning travel to and on this beautiful island.


  1. Hi Pete, Christina here from New Zealand. I’m supposed to arrive the 4th of May. If the cancel the flower festival in May will it be held at another time in 2020 do you think or not until 2021?
    Many thanks Christina

    1. Hi Christina, actually they have cancelled the flower festival and they now aim for September. Of course, nothing is certain for now, so this may change again. Keep a close eye on the situation, as anyone arriving on Madeira now is automatically put into a quarantine facility in Quinta do Lorde for 14 days.

  2. Thank you for the update Peter. It’s so re-assuring to read, although there is a state of emergency (which you have superbly explained with great clarity), at least it shows the Madeiran government etc, are being very proactive in protecting Madeiran citizens….many of whom are friends and family of ours.

    We’re here in the UK, where things appear to not be improving.

    Thankfully, it appears that in Madeira, things seem to be more organised and with stringent rules, which the majority of prople, appear to be adhering to.

    Over here in the UK, with its diversity of people, especially in London, it’s a different scenario…and it didn’t help that the UK government, only decided to be more proactive this week!! Thankfully, myself and family, are not living in London.

    Take care and stay safe!!!

  3. Sounds like you’re in the best place during this crisis. Thank you for keeping us updated. Enjoy the sunshine, be happy, be blessed, be safe.

    1. Thank you, Gorete. We feel quite safe here, though it would be naive to think we can’t get the virus. Meantime, we simply enjoy everything our direct surroundings have to offer. And I shall continue to try and keep my readers updated, like I have done, without sensationalism and panic. Como se diz aqui na Madeira: Paciência. E calma!

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