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Friday May 29th Update

Michael - 04-06-2020

Friday May 29th Update

News from afpop - Friday May 29th Update Included in this briefing: 1. afpop office re-opening/office maintenance, 2. Annual General meeting 3. Churches, ...
Included in this briefing:
1.                 afpop office re-opening/office maintenance
2.                 Annual General meeting
3.                 Churches
4.                 Vehicle Inspections
5.                 What opens on 1st June?
6.                 Beaches in brief and the ‘app’
7.                 Hand gel in vehicles
8.                 What remains closed
9.                 Airports
10.                Masks
11.                Livro de Reclamações
12.                Lojas de Cidadão
13.                Food bank collections
14.                Appointments Fact Sheet
15.                Document renewal
16.                Reminders : Travel through Spain/France and Covid site

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. 

afpop office re-opening: As the third phase of the government’s re-opening plan comes into force, we will also take the opportunity to begin to re-open the afpop office to Members. As from Monday 8th June, Members will be able to visit the afpop office, providing you have made an appointment before-hand. Appointments can be made by telephone and will begin at 9 am each day, with a 30 minute slot for each appointment and a break for lunch between 12.30 and 14.00. Please remember to bring your face mask if the rules regarding masks in enclosed spaces are still in force.

Office maintenance: Due to water damage caused by earlier flooding in the office, the floor in the reception will be replaced on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th June, in preparation for opening on the 8th. This means that the office will be closed on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th June and any e-mails will be dealt with when the office re-opens on the 8th.

Annual General Meeting: The AGM which was planned for March 28th has to be rescheduled and we will send an e-mail to Members next week with the details of the new date and venue.  

Churches: the main news is that churches will be open from June 1st, providing that “the (social distancing) requirements determined by health authorities are observed”.

Vehicle Inspection Centres (IPO): The closure of inspection centres has now been repealed and are once again open to the public and carrying out vehicle inspections, with of course the now usual caveats regarding social distancing, safety of users and employees and pre-appointments. The 5 month extension of inspection dates is still in force, meaning that those vehicles which were due to be inspected between 13th March and 30th June have 5 months from the date of matriculation of their vehicle to have the vehicle tested.

What opens/becomes possible from June 1st? (Lisbon/Vale de Tejo. There is some discussion in government about the schedule for the Lisbon area, which at the time of mailing had not been clarified. We will send an e-mail after the weekend to Members outside the Algarve if there is any difference in the re-opening plan for Lisbon.)
Stores with an area greater than 400 m2 or within shopping centres
Nurseries, preschool and ATLs (children’s activity groups)
Cinemas, theatres, concert halls, auditoriums (with marked seats, reduced capacity and physical distancing imposed)
Gymnasiums will be open but class numbers will be reduced. At the moment we have no information about use of changing facilities and showers
Football: from 30th May the official competitions of the 1st League and the Portuguese Cup resume (without spectators)

Beaches: Here is a brief reminder of some of the rules that you will need to follow if you intend to visit the beaches when they reopen on 6th June. The bulletin from last week had a more comprehensive list, but these are the main things you will need to know.
Occupancy status - announced through signs: green - low occupancy (1/3); yellow - high occupancy (2/3); red - full occupancy (3/3); information will be updated continuously, in real time, via the ‘Info beach’ app and on the APA (Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente) website, so you can check ahead of time to see if the beach you are going to is already full. Parking is prohibited outside parks and designated parking areas. Motorhomes and campers are also prohibited in beach parking areas.
Use of beach - Social distance of 1.5m between users (who are not part of the same group); 3m spacing between sun umbrellas;
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);  
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
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. There will also be fines imposed for people who do not observe the beach etiquette regulations.
The ‘app’: The app for smart phones can be downloaded from the android and Apple ‘App store' and 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 ‘’ in the centre. (See image below) Unfortunately the app 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.
Apppicture

Hand gel in vehicles: There have been several warnings about bottles of alcoholic hand gel being left in vehicles and causing damage due to spontaneous combustion when overheating. Some very worrying images are circulating of vehicles on fire, apparently caused by the gel catching fire as the alcohol in the gel reaches its flammable temperature. As a precaution we advise that when leaving your vehicle parked in the sunlight, you should take the gel with you from the vehicle.

What remains closed/prohibited?

  • Land Borders until at least June 15th (See travel through Spain/France below)
  • Nightclubs, bars and casinos
  • spas, swimming pools (indoor and outdoor) and massage parlours
  • basic education, kindergartens
  • Indoor sporting events, 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, despite mounting speculation in the press about ‘air corridors’ and the relaxing of quarantine requirements for arrivals, we still have no confirmation about when airports will actually re-open fully. We remain in contact with the airport management in Faro and Turismo do Algarve 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. You can see some information from the airports about their preparations on this link https://www.ana.pt/en/corporate/ana/security-measures

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. The consumers’ rights organisation DECO is advising people that some private clinics may be charging for masks for anyone entering their premises, whether they already have a mask with them or not and that is not legal and should be complained about if it happens. According to DECO, clinics have no right to compel customers to purchase masks from them, unless the patient does not already have a mask with them. You should complain using the electronic complaints book, (Livro de Reclamações) so that ASAE can investigate the complaint.

Livro de Reclamações: You can access the electronic complaints book via this link: https://www.livroreclamacoes.pt/ which is available in Portuguese and English.   

Lojas de Cidadão: From the 1st of June the Lojas de Cidadao will start to reopen, but by appointment only to begin with. Reservation must be made by telephone and we will have more information on that in the next bulletin, as at the moment it is not clear how it will operate.

Food bank collections: We have supported the excellent work of the national food bank organisation Banco Alimentar Contra a Fome (BACF) for many years, but you may not be aware that since the beginning of the first State of Emergency, BACF has seen requests for food more than double. This is one of the weeks that they hold their food collections each year, but this year they have the added problem of not being able to use volunteers to collect the food at the supermarkets. Please look out for their signs and collection points in the following supermarket chains; CONTINENTE, PINGO DOCE, LIDL, MINIPREÇO and AUCHAN and in the stores of ALGARTALHOS, JAFERS and APOLÓNIA. Their campaign runs until the 31st May.

Appointments: A reminder about our 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)

Document renewal: On 16th May the government passed a law extending the validity of documents that are expired, or due to expire, until October 30th. This measure applies to:
- Citizen Card;
- Driving license;
- Certificates;
- Permanence visas.

Some reminders:
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.

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 https://eportugal.gov.pt/en/covid-19 to find out more.

PLEASE don’t relax your guard now. As more restrictions are eased and we begin to come into more contact with others and go about our daily lives, please remember to continue to 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.

On behalf of the whole team here I thank you again for all the kind and supportive comments that we have received and send you our warmest regards.
Until next time my best wishes to you all and please,
STAY SAFE
MichaelSignature
Michael R Reeve
CEO
afpop - Making Life Better
 
 

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