Portugal could be one of the first places to welcome back British tourists as hotels are planning to open on June 1, beaches will reopen on June 6 and, unlike neighbouring countries, it doesn’t require visitors to quarantine, unless they are entering Madeira or the Azores.
However, British visitors will have to quarantine for 14 days when returning home as the UK Government says it’s going to introduce a compulsory quarantine from early June for all overseas arrivals into the country. It says it will consider lifting the quarantine after three weeks for arrivals from countries with few Covid-9 cases. Portugal has recorded 29,000 cases altogether and about 1200 deaths.
At the moment, the UK Foreign Office is still advising against all non-essential travel overseas, making it almost impossible to find travel insurance cover. However, basic medical cover would still be provided in Portugal for British EHIC card carriers, at least until the end of 2020. That said, the Government is still advising everyone to stay at home.
Portugal said the number of visitors on beaches will be limited from June 6, and it will have strict social distancing measures in place. Groups of sunbathers will be expected to remain at least 1.5 metres apart. Extra supervision will be provided to ensure strict compliance with the new rules, according to the tourist board, but it claimed the social distancing measures wouldn’t have a ‘very significant impact’ on the enjoyment of Portuguese beaches as they are so extensive.
The planned reopening of beaches next month follows the reopening of museums and other cultural attractions such as monuments art galleries, palaces and churches this week. Restaurants, cafés, patisseries, terraces, promenades and shops of up to 400 square metres have opened this week.
Sailing clubs, golf courses, taxis, car rental firms and public transports have been operating since the start of the month.
The Portuguese Department of Health said its “strict and rigorous” health and safety measures will remain in force. These include, the obligatory use of masks, the continuation of two-metre social distancing and conditions for frequent disinfection of hands by employees, visitors, customers, and of surfaces and spaces with imposed capacity limitations.
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 payments should preferably be made through contactless processes.
Turismo de Portugal has created a ‘Clean & Safe’ stamp, which distinguishes tourist activities that ensure compliance with hygiene and cleanliness requirements for the prevention and control of Covid-19 and other possible infections, in accordance with the recommendations of the Portuguese Department of Health.
This stamp covers hotels, local accommodation, tour operators, restaurant and catering companies.