Portugal is ready to receive UK visitors ahead of the government’s review of quarantine restrictions on Monday, the country’s tourism officials insist.
Lewis Araujo, president of Turismo de Portugal, said: “We have hotels open, restaurants open, and the reaction [of visitors] is very positive. Museums are open, shops are open.”
Beaches have been open since June 6, with information on which beaches have space and which are more busy available on an app.
Speaking on a Travel Weekly Roadmap to Recovery webcast, Araujo explained: “It was impossible to forbid people to go the beach. So we said let’s give them a possibility to know which beaches they can go to and what to do when there.
“We have an app where you can see how crowded is a beach. This information is in Portuguese, English and Spanish.
“There is a traffic-light system. If it’s green, you can go freely. If yellow, you can still go. If red, the beach is a little crowded – you can still go, but you need to pay attention to the distance between your umbrella and others. It’s not allowed to play sports on the beach, but you still can walk.”
He said: “The beaches are not crowded as they used to be. We have more space. It’s simple and people are complying, which is the most important thing.”
Araujo added: “The hotels are ready. They comply with ‘clean and safe’ protocols issued by the Ministry of Health. We have more than 20,000 establishments, from hotels and restaurants to car rental and golf courses, ‘clean and safe’.
“You can check on a platform – Portugalcleanandsafe.com
“If you think someone is not complying, you can evaluate them with a traffic-light system, giving green, yellow or red. If you give a red light, we’re obliged to audit the establishment.
“We are going to give information kits to passengers arriving at the airport with details on where they can find information.”
He insisted: “The only things not open are nightclubs. Restaurants have rules in place. You have to enter with a mask, but when you sit you can take the mask off.
“If you’re not wearing a mask when you enter a restaurant, any Portuguese will tell you ‘Please use your mask’.
“Restaurants have more open areas, more balconies and tables outside. All employees wear masks. You can check the menu in some apps. You can pay wirelessly. You don’t have to touch the machine when you use your card.
“We’ve just launched a platform to pay tolls for cars. You register your plate number and your credit card and everything will be debited automatically.”
There are currently no restrictions on arrivals to mainland Portugal, but visitors to the islands of Madeira or the Azores are required to have a Covid-19 test at the airport on arrival.
Speaking from Madeira, Araujo said: “They do the test in five minutes and then you’re free to go to your hotel.
“I had to wait five to six hours for the result. You get an email. If you test positive you have to go to a quarantine hotel. This is only for Madeira and the Azores.”
The UK government is due to review the quarantine-free list of countries on Monday July 27 when it’s hoped restrictions on travel to Portugal will be lifted.
The country was excluded from the UK’s initial ‘Covid safe travel’ list of destinations which came into force on July 10.
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