Portugal is gradually opening its economy and social life, with some good news for those hoping to visit the country this summer.
Portugal’s beaches will reopen to tourists on June 6, following data by the Ministry of Health revealing that the spread of the COVID’19 virus does not appear to have accelerated.
Accordingly, Portugal will be one of the first European countries to welcome back visitors, as it takes steps to ease the country out of lockdown, following the termination of the “state of calamity” ending on May 31.
To ease the transition, Portugal is establishing conditions for reopening the country to tourism, without “imposing a quarantine rule” for visitors.
“Tourists are welcome in Portugal,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, explaining that, although some health checks will be introduced at airports, “there will be no compulsory quarantine”for those flying in.
In addition, the Minister of State and Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, has stated that Portugal guarantees that Portuguese nationals living abroad, particularly those residing in Europe, are also allowed to return to mainland Portugal without being quarantined.
“Unless you come from countries in great [COVID’19] difficulties, there is no mandatory quarantine,” she said.
However, there will be monitoring by health authorities, “Their decisions must be respected, as they are the ones who are able to assess the risk in each case,” she stressed.
This statements were stressed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasizing that Portuguese emigrants are welcome with “no prohibitions or restrictions” when returning home in the summer “to reunite with their families, as they have always done, to support the recovery of the economy.”
Following these announcements, hotels and beaches will start reopening from June 1, under strict health protocols.
According to Visit Portugal, the official website for travel and tourism, while in the country visitors will have to follow some strict rules.
Guests at hotels will be unable to check into their room until 24 hours after the last occupant checked out, among other requirements.
Additional measures require the use of masks, a two meter (six-foot) social distancing in public spaces and frequent disinfection of hands by employees and visitors alike.
Capacity limitations are imposed in places such as restaurants where customers are advised to book in advance and payments should be cashless when possible.
Visitors and residents alike are also required to keep a social distance of 1.5 meters (4.92126 foot) apart at all times. Beach sports of two people or more will not be allowed. These rules also apply while lounging on the beach or by the pool.
While police will not be enforcing the rules, a special app has been created to tell the public if their beach of choice is full or still has space.
Developed by the Portuguese Agency for the Environment the app will monitor how many people are on beaches at any given time.
In addition, the Portuguese Tourism Board has also created the “Clean and Safe” label, marking tourist resorts that meet all of the cleaning and hygiene requirements set out by the authorities for the prevention of coronavirus. Badges will be valid for one year.
Azores and Madeira travel protocols
All passengers arriving to the Azores and Madeira are subject to a mandatory quarantine for 14 days, no matter the expected duration of travel on the islands. This is applicable to all travelers, whether they are visitors, residents or citizens.
Travelers to the Azores and Madeira are also asked to hand-carry proof of a negative COVID-19 test which has been completed within 72 hours prior to their arrival in those regions.
Travelers who do not have proof of a test will be tested and will remain in mandatory hotel quarantine, at a hotel selected by the Regional Government, until the results are available.
The traveler will then be required to remain in quarantine (at a home or hotel) for 14 days after the initial negative test. If a passenger refuses any of the indicated procedures, the Regional Health Authority can determine the mandatory compliance with quarantine in a hotel unit, with all costs charged to the passenger concerned, this procedure being done with the due authorization of a judge.
Although the Portuguese American Journal was not able to confirm the following development, Azoreans in the United States are considering proposing to the Government of the Azores the payment of a deposit caution allowing them to quarantine at home, while travel agents are pressing SATA Air Azores to resume trips to the Azores.
Find more complete guidelines and information at Covid19Azores
According to the latest daily bulletin (05/28/20),from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) Portugal (population 10,196,709/2020) accounts for 1,369 deaths associated with COVID’19 and 31,596 confirmed cases of infection.
In the Azores, a total of 146 cases of infection have been detected in the Region, with 128 recovered, 16 deaths and two positive cases active of COVID’19 infection with the new coronavirus in the ast two weeks.
Portugal decreed a state of emergency on March 18, which was renewed twice and downgraded to the “state of calamity” on May 3, extended until May 31, allowing for the gradual reactivation of the country’s normal activities.
Flights to and from outside the European Union are still temporarily suspended until June 15, with some exceptions, including some routes to and from Portuguese-speaking nations like Brazil.
SATA Air Azores has canceled all flights to North America, Canada, Cape Verde and Frankfurt until June 30. On April 21, SATA Azores Airlines announced that all flights outside the Portuguese airspace were suspended until June 6 and extended to JUne 30.
There are currently no direct flights between the United States and Portugal. Those who have booked flights are encouraged to opt for “Don’t cancel, postpone” a campaign offering vouchers allowing travelers’ plans to stay valid until December 2021.
Carolina Matos/Editor with PAJ/Staff