On the 18th of May, Portugal took another step in the process of gradually opening the economy and social life. This new phase, which coincided with International Museum Day, was marked by the opening of museums and other cultural amenities such as monuments, art galleries, interpretative centres, palaces and churches. Restaurants, cafés, patisseries, terraces, promenades and shops of up to 400 square metres have also opened as of the 18th.
This marks the second of the three phased controlled opening, following local traders, bookshops, hairdressers, beauty salons, libraries, sailing clubs, golf courses, taxi and rent-a-car firms and some public services and public transports, which had already opened their doors on May 4th with highly positive results. The effects of the pandemic in Portugal has maintained its downward curve, strengthening confidence and certainty in the measures implemented on May 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, 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.
In order to continue to guarantee everyone’s trust in the tourist destination and national range of tourist attractions, Turismo de Portugal has created the “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 the entire tourism value chain, including hotels, local accommodation, tour operators, restaurant and catering companies, which at the same time are implementing specific protocols for the various types of services.
The high take-up rate of the stamp by companies, which have accounted for over 4000 already being made available, is significant evidence of the commitment of Portuguese companies to welcome 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. Until then the rules that have to be complied with will be laid down, limiting the number of bathers per beach, a situation that will not have a very significant impact on the enjoyment of Portuguese beaches, owing to the fact it is possible to find extensive space and over 850 km of reinvigorating Atlantic coast. Extra supervision will be provided to ensure strict compliance with the stipulated rules.
It is also proposed that this phase will include the opening of other commercial services and establishments, marking a further step towards the return of a certain degree of normality in Portugal’s social and economic situation.
There are currently no quarantine requirements on entry to Portugal, except for the Madeira Islands. The Azores islands are accommodating the following options: arriving with a confirmed negative COVID-19 test, a COVID-19 test upon arrival or voluntary quarantine in a designated hotel.
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 situation.