Porto City Hall wants street entertainers to pay for a license

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The Oporto City Hall approved today to submit to public consultation a change in the Regulatory Code that will force street entertainers to pay a license and prevent them from performing in certain places in the city.

In a presentation to the executive, the director of the Municipal Department of Tourism and Internationalization, Fátima Santos, clarified that this is an activity that urgently needs to be “qualified and regulated” in order to guarantee harmony between the activity and the quality of life of residents and visitors.

The change defines two areas of operation: zone A (lower pressure), which covers all the city’s parishes except the historic center and in which no fees will have to be paid, and zone B (higher pressure), which is limited to the center of Porto and where fees will have to be paid.

The division by zones aims to disperse the street entertainers throughout the city, as well as to “take the pressure off” the historic center, where this activity is concentrated and where there is a greater affluence of public.

With this change, entertainers now have to apply for a license from the municipality to continue their activity, and two types of licenses have been defined for zone B: a license for up to three days, which will cost one euro per day, and a license for more than three days and a maximum of 30 days, which will cost two euros per day.

Both licenses involve “grace periods” ranging from one to two months.

According to Fátima Santos, the street entertainment activity will be forbidden on Avenida dos Aliados, Praça General Humberto Delgado, Praça D. João I, Largo Amor de Perdição and on the sidewalk in front of the Jardim do Palácio de Cristal.

The change also defines that no marketing of items is allowed, the animators must be at a distance of 250 meters in the same street, and the space to be occupied by each one cannot exceed 2.5 square meters.

Performances will only be allowed between 08:00 and 22:00, and between 20:00 and 22:00 only those that do not use “any type of sound” will be allowed.

The mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, emphasized that this change is not based on “any prohibitionist sentiment”, aiming only to “regulate the city”.

When questioned by the BE councilor, Maria Manuel Rola, about the universe of street artists in Porto, the independent councilor in charge of Tourism and Internationalization, Catarina Santos Cunha, said she didn’t know the number of people who practice this activity in the city.

For the CDU, councilwoman Ilda Figueiredo defended the need to not make the process too bureaucratic, although she recognizes that “some control” is needed.

Socialist councilman Jorge Garcia Pereira considered that the regulation “takes away the spontaneity” of street entertainers.

Councilman Alberto Machado, from the PSD, also highlighted the “complexity of the regulation”, even though he admitted being “sensitive to the need for regulation”.

Agreeing with some of the councilors’ considerations, Rui Moreira suggested that the licenses should be made ‘in loco’ in order to simplify the process and create a “more proactive relationship” with the animators.

The proposal was approved with the abstention of the PS.

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