The Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, reaffirmed that British tourists will be welcomed in Portugal for the Summer holidays, despite the concerns amid the pandemic. Santos Silva gave the reassurance directly to the microphones of BBC.
The minister added that negotiations with the British government regarding the establishment of an “air bridge” between the two countries, avoiding the hassle of a quarantine period for people returning to the UK after their vacations in Algarve (or elsewhere in Portugal, although the southernmost province is the destination choice for most).
Later, and although Home Secretary Priti Patel postponed the announcement of these plans, prime-minister Boris Johnson confirmed the government is considering and analyzing the possibility of travel corridors to countries less affected by the pandemic.
The air companies are, of course, anxiously waiting for the lifting of some measures. Last Friday, June 5th, “British Airways refused to attend a meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel”, according to BBC, because of it’s “fierce” opposition to the plan of including a mandatory 14-day quarantine period to travellers returning to the United Kingdom.
Safety measures in place in Portugal
Although Portugal is by now more advanced regarding deconfinement measures than Britain, this did not mean a return to normal life. By the time this article is being written, the country is going through “stage 3” of the government’s deconfinement plan, and the health authorities remain vigilant. Not every business is allowed to open; namely, the more prominent shopping malls of the Lisbon area remain closed. The top-tier football championship restarted, but with empty stands, like in Germany; all the lower football divisions were terminated (although some clubs of the Segunda Liga, equivalent to the Championship, were not happy about it).
There will also be safety rules regarding beach access throughout the country (a mobile app will help beachgoers regarding this). It is quite unclear if pubs and nightclubs will be allowed to open at all for the coming months; Mr Santos Silva told BBC that “nightlife would be very limited”, at least. Public gatherings of people won’t be allowed, too, and hotels of all categories will need a (and are getting) a “clean & safe” certificate by the health authorities.
Everything is being put in place to bring tourists to Algarve and so that they can feel safe. As per June 5th, there were 381 total cases and 16 deceased due to Covid-19 among the 450,000 Algarvian inhabitants.