Wednesday, May 27th, 2020: On the 18th of this month, Portugal took another step in the process of gradually opening up our economy and social life. This new phase, which coincides with International Museum Day, was marked by the opening not only of our museums, but also of other cultural amenities such as monuments, art galleries, interpretative centres, palaces and churches. Restaurants, cafés, patisseries, esplanades and shopping centres of up to 400 square metres opened as well.
This will constitute the second phased and controlled opening stage, following local traders, bookshops, hairdressers, beauty salons, libraries, sailing clubs, golf courses, taxi and rent-a-car companies and some public transport services, which previously opened their doors on May 4th, with highly positive results. The effects of the pandemic in Portugal have maintained their downward curve, strengthening confidence and certainty in the measures implemented from the 18th, and likewise those proposed for the subsequent phases.
The strict and rigorous health and safety measures imposed in Portugal by the Department of Health will remain in force, such as the obligatory use of masks, the continuation of two-metre social distancing, and conditions for frequent disinfection of hands by employees, visitors or customers, and of surfaces and spaces, the allocation of which will be subject to limits. In restaurants and similar establishments, ventilation and frequent air renewal will be given priority and all decorative elements will be removed from tables. Customers are advised to book in advance and payment must be made by contactless processes.
In order to maintain the confidence of all those involved in tourist destinations and the national range of tourist attractions, Turismo de Portugal has created the “Clean & Safe” seal, which distinguishes those tourist activities that guarantee compliance with the hygiene and cleanliness requirements for the prevention and control of Coved-19 and any other infections, in accordance with Department of Health recommendations. This seal covers the whole of the tourism value chain, including hotels, local accommodation, tour operators and restaurant and catering companies, which are simultaneously implementing specific codes and rules for the various types of services.
The high take-up rate by companies, which have accounted for over 4000 of the available Seals, is very significant evidence of the commitment of Portuguese companies to welcoming tourists in safe conditions.
The start of the bathing season, which will begin on June 6th, will mark a further phase in the return to business. Rules will be laid down mandating the maximum number of bathers per beach, which will not have a significant impact on the enjoyment of Portuguese beaches, where visitors can find extensive sands and more than 850 km of reinvigorating Atlantic coast. Extra supervision will be provided to ensure strict compliance with the rules.
It is also proposed that this phase will include the opening of other commercial services and establishments, marking a further step towards a certain degree of normalcy in Portugal’s social and economic life.
It should also be mentioned that air borders will be kept open with EU countries except Spain and Italy, and also with the United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, the USA, Canada, Venezuela, South Africa, Brazil and the other countries whose official language is Portuguese. There are still air traffic limits owing to reduced air transport operations, which it is hoped will be gradually restored. There will be no quarantine requirement on entry to Portugal, except for the Madeira and Azores archipelagos.
Thanks to clear and objective measures, implemented at a very early stage, Portugal is succeeding in positioning itself internationally as an example of how to control and conduct the pandemic. Our concerted strategy of public health protection, support for businesses and also of strict compliance by citizens and companies with the instructions and guidelines issued by Government authorities, have contributed a great deal to Portugal’s continued success in stopping the spread of the virus.
The World’s Best Destination continues to be authentic, diverse, attractive, inclusive and safe. We maintain our purpose and our undertaking, namely to welcome all our visitors and ensure that they are able to travel around our country safely and confidently.
It’s time to say #CantSkipHope…. Start planning.