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Tuesday May 19th update

Michael Reeve - 19-05-2020

Tuesday May 19th update

Included in this briefing: Beaches - the basics, The beach 'app", Restaurants.... Included in this briefing:

  1. Beaches – the basics
  2. The beach ‘app’
  3. Restaurants
  4. What remains closed
  5. Airports
  6. Airport survey
  7. Masks
  8. Appointments Fact Sheet
  9. Travel thorough Spain/France
  10. Reminders: Covid site, Fires clearance/bonfires; Documents; Recyclable waste
I hope you are all well and keeping safe. As always if English or German are not your first language and you need clarification on any of the information included in this mailing, please contact the afpop office to ask for assistance.
As you will know by now the Algarve beaches are set to open on 6th June, with various rules to be enforced and also an ‘app’ for you to download. Whilst this is a couple of weeks away, I thought it would be an idea to make sure you have the information that you need and also some information on what the ‘beach app’ is all about.

The Basics:
Use of beach - physical distance of 1.5m between users (who are not part of the same group); 3m spacing between sun umbrellas; no sports activities for 2 or more people (except nautical activities, surf lessons and similar activities) According to the Directorate-General for Health, neither sea water nor properly treated pool water is a vehicle for transmitting viruses.

First aid stations - on beaches must have thermometers, personal protective equipment and an area for isolation of suspected cases of covid-19.

Awnings and tents - as a rule, each person or group can only rent in the morning (until 1:30 pm) or afternoon (after 2 pm); 3m spacing between awnings and stems; 1.5m spacing between the limits of the tents; Maximum of 5 people per awning or tent.

Occupancy status - announced through signs: green - low occupancy (1/3); yellow - high occupancy (2/3); red - full occupancy (3/3); information updated continuously, in real time, via the ‘Info beach’ app and on the APA (Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente) website; parking is prohibited outside parks and designated parking areas.

Circulation rules - one-way traffic with physical distance of 1.50m; indicated by circulation corridors, parallel and perpendicular to the coastline.

Bars, restaurants and terraces - regular cleaning of spaces (minimum: 4 daily cleanings); limit of capacity; reorganisation of terraces to ensure safe distance.

Beach vending - mandatory use of a mask and visor by the seller when contacting customers; the circulation of beach vendors must be done with physical distance and, preferably, through the circulation corridors.

Equipment - the use of ‘gaivotas’ (pedal boats), slides or indoor showers is prohibited; outdoor showers, sunbeds, mattresses or beach ashtrays must be cleaned daily or whenever the user changes.

General duties of beach users - avoid access to areas with high or full occupation; proceed with the regular disinfection of hands and mandatorily on arrival at the beach; ensure the physical safety distance when using the beach and when swimming; proceed with regular disinfecting of the hands and mandatorily on arrival at the beach. (This also includes returning to the beach from any beach bar when open)

Failure to observe the rules – Be warned, there is the probability that a beach ban will be reinstated for reasons of public health protection, in the event of serious non-compliance with the rules, either by the concessionaires or bathers.

The ‘app’: The app for smart phones already exists in fact. It can be downloaded for Android and Apple mobile devices. It includes information on the majority of beaches throughout Portugal. It’s call ‘Info Praia’ and the symbol is a white life belt with orange flashes and the lowercase ‘i ’ in the centre. (See image below) The unfortunate part is that it is only available in Portuguese, which is not a problem when you search for the beach you are interested in, but could be when you actually try to read the information. However, this is a good opportunity to learn a few Portuguese words and phrases and once you do you’ll be able to understand the app. We’ve asked for information about how this app is going to be used to control the numbers of people on the beaches and have been advised that there will be information about this in the next few days. I can’t see how people who don’t have the app will be barred from the beach and what happens to those people who don’t have a Smart phone or who don’t wish to carry them to the beach. There are other questions of course and at the moment we don’t have the answers, but hopefully we WILL have them before next week’s mailing.

*Restaurants: The regulations for restaurant and café owners have now been released and you may have seen these printed in the local press. For customers you may find that your favourite restaurants will require you to make a reservation, certainly to begin with, to avoid them having people queueing inside the premises. You should get the phone number of your favourite restaurants to be sure. There may be some changes to the way they present their menus and also bear in mind that the toilets and wash rooms will also have rules for their use. Many of us will want to support our favourite restaurants and begin to get back to a feeling of normality, but please bear in mind that they will have restrictions and obligations that are new to them and that they are required to observe, so please be patient when you visit them.

What remains closed/prohibited?
  • Land Borders until at least June 15th (See travel through Spain/France below)
  • stores with an area greater than 400 m2 (unless decided by the local authority – see above)
  • Nightclubs and bars
  • spas, swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), gyms & massage parlours
  • basic education, kindergartens
  • cinemas, theatres,  auditoriums, casinos etc
  • Sports venues, Congress centres and conference rooms
  • Any event or gatherings with more than 10 people (except funerals with the participation of family members)
Airports: At the moment we have no confirmation about when airports will re-open, although some airlines are starting to advertise that they will be flying in June and some in July. We are in touch with the airport management in Faro and as soon as we have definite information about their plans we will pass that on. We are advised that there will be some new procedures, for example temperature checks and hand sanitising requirements and of course social distancing in queues, which should be interesting. However, the president of the regional tourism board, João Fernandes, has issued a Press Release to the UK media, stating that the golf courses are open, the beaches will soon be open and that restaurants and hotels and theme parks will soon be open too. So it would seem that there must be some announcement due soon about airports and travel restrictions. You can see some information from the airports about their preparations on this link

Airport survey: We are in regular contact with Faro airport and whilst at the moment they don’t have specific news or information on a return to normal service, they are busy gathering information to help them plan and negotiate with the airlines. To that end we are pleased to promote the short survey on airport use that they have devised. It is only in English, but is a very simple and anonymous survey, which will only take a minute or so to complete. We ask that you assist the airport management and take a few seconds of your time to complete the survey, which consists of 8 simple questions. Please find the link to the survey HERE

Masks: As we know, masks are now required, at the risk of substantial fines for non-compliance, in essentially all situations where people will gather in any numbers inside a building or on public transport.

Appointments: We have prepared a Fact Sheet (in English) for afpop Members with information on how to make appointments (online or by phone) for: Conservatoria, Finanças, Segurança Social, SNS & IMT (SEF is already explained in our Residency Bulletin), which can be downloaded from the Members area of our website under Publications/Bulletins/Fact Sheets. CLICK HERE  

Travel through Spain/France – We are asked often about travel through Europe for those wishing to return to their home country. The British Embassy website does have regular updates on the situation which will be valid for anyone who needs to travel by road across Europe, but essentially the borders of Spain and France remain open for people in transit to their countries of origin. Anyone wishing to get home must however have proof of being in transit e.g. Ferry Ticket or Eurotunnel ticket for the UK and proof of home address if driving to other countries. As I always point out when publishing information about dealing with the police in other countries, you really do not want to be arguing at the roadside with a police officer that has stopped you and is requiring you to prove why you are travelling, so be prepared and make sure you have the necessary documents before you set out

Some reminders:

Covid site: A reminder that there is a Portuguese government site (in English), which gives information and updates on the bureaucratic changes as a result of the virus – in particular the extended deadlines for document validity. Click on the link to find out more.

Fire Clearance: The extended deadline for home owners to ensure the cleanliness of land around their properties has been extended once again and you now have until the end of May to complete the clearance. Remember that property owners are obliged to clean tree limbs and flammable material and clean their land in a strip of not less than 50 metres around their homes. HERE is a link to our information on land clearance.

Garden waste: The burning of waste is allowed until the end of June unless advised otherwise, with the usual restrictions and instruction to contact the local Bombeiros before and after the burning. Those Members who don’t want to burn their garden rubbish, should contact their local council to enquire about collections. 

Documents: Those documents which expired after 24 February will be accepted until 30 Jun. After this date they will remain valid if you have an appointment, but only if you have proof of the appointment. (See the link to the government website above)

Recyclable waste: The waste disposal collections are continuing as you will know, but there are some guidelines that you should pay attention to.

Masks, gloves and handkerchiefs are not recyclable; they must always be disposed of in regular trash. These materials are apparently appearing, in large quantities, in Eco-points, ending up in the sorting lines. In addition to not being recyclable, they can be contaminated.

Contaminated waste is not recyclable; it must always be disposed of in regular waste. This rule applies to all persons who have contracted COVID-19 or who are quarantined for the same suspicion. Anyone in quarantine  should have their waste placed in two bags, one inside the other, tightly closed. These bags must not be full or compacted - they just have to be tightly closed and deposited inside the regular waste container.

PLEASE don’t relax your guard now. It is still our civic duty to remain at home as much as we can. Wash your hands regularly and cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, preferably with either a tissue or your forearm but not your hands. Clean surfaces often and keep the social distancing measures.

Michael R Reeve
afpop - Making Life Better

Alliance Partners
  • Medal Insurance
  • Algarve Resident
  • Blevins & Franks
  • Turismo de Portugal - Algarve
Associate Partners
  • Toldolanda
  • Golf for Greys
  • NCA Portugal
  • Mestre Raposa