Coronavirus - Information for our customers - 6th July 2020

Please note: this page will be regularly updated

We would like to let you know about the steps Five Star Portugal is taking during these uncertain times. Despite everything going on around us, we are doing our best to continue with our promise to deliver extraordinary experiences and connect with our customers.

 

We are still able to offer a 24/7 web based service whilst our office team work remotely from home.

Our Concierge and luxury holiday service in conjunction with NH Concierge Services is now fully operational again for bookings. Now that Portugal has opened up again for international tourism. 

Coronavirus - Update 1st May 2020

You must wear Face Masks

In public places

Portugal’s government to enforce sanctions to those who fail to wear protective masks on public transport amid relaxing of isolation rules.

THE government in Portugal will enforce sanctions from this coming Monday, May 4, to those failing to wear masks in public transport.

A government source claimed that “the creation of a sanctioning regime is foreseen, with administrative offences” for those who do not use a mask in public transport, where the permitted capacity of passengers will be two-thirds of the usual permitted to allow for social distancing.

The fines handed out to those who do not comply will be from €120 and €350.

Prime Minister, António Costa said that wearing masks will be “mandatory in public transport, in commerce, in schools and in closed places where there are high numbers of people.” However, this requirement does not extend to students in day-care centres and nurseries, only to students years 11 and 12, who will take part in face-to-face classes. It was also pointed out that in educational establishments, it will be the government that will distribute protective equipment.

Coronavirus - Update 9th June 2020 - Portugal Receives 'Safe Travels' Seal

Portugal now ready for international tourists again

Portugal is the first European country to receive the 'Safe Travels' seal from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), according to a press release.

This seal aims to recognize destinations that comply with health and hygiene protocols in line with the Safe Travel Protocols issued by the WTTC, helping, above all, to instill confidence in consumers, so that they feel they can travel safely as soon as restrictions are applied. raised.

“Portugal was a pioneer in launching the Clean & Safe seal.

This WTTC seal comes to reward the effort that has been made by everyone. The best destination in the world is also seen as the safest in the world," said Secretary of State for Tourism Rita Marques, 

The WTTC also published guidelines for other sectors, including catering, street shopping, aviation, airports, congress, meeting and event centers.

Victory for Portugal air bridge campaign 20th August 2020

Portugal now ready for international tourists again

Portugal is now officially on the air travel corridor list for the UK, meaning that visitors to the country will no longer have to quarantine upon return to the UK.

UK Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Schapps, revealed on Twitter: “Data also shows we can now add Portugal to those countries INCLUDED in Travel Corridors. As with all air bridge countries, please be aware that things can change quickly. Only travel if you are content to unexpectedly 14-day quarantine if required (I speak from experience!)”

While it is hugely positive news for Portugal, the same could not be said as Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago, as expected, have been removed from the green list for the UK.

“Data shows we need to remove Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago from our list of #coronavirus Travel Corridors to keep infection rates DOWN. If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days”, tweeted Schapps

Schapps added: “A range of factors taken into account when JBC & Ministers assess Travel Corridors - including but not limited to: estimated prevalence of COVID-19 in a country; the level and rate of change in the incidence of confirmed positive cases; the extent of testing in a country. The testing regime and test positivity; the extent to which cases can be accounted for by a contained outbreak as opposed to more general transmission in the community; government actions; and other relevant epidemiological information.”

Since July, The Portugal News has been campaigning to open the air bridge between the UK and Portugal, to allow tourists to visit Portugal and the Algarve which has consistently shown a positive handling of Covid-19 within the country.

Read more at;

theportugalnews.com

Faro airport ‘transformed’ by arrival of holidaymakers from UK 22nd August 2020

Portugal now ready for international tourists again

Faro airport has already been transformed by the British government’s decision to give Portugal a long awaited ‘air corridor’.

Within hours of the news on Thursday, planes that had previously been arriving from British airports with just handfuls of passengers were suddenly bringing in throngs.

On Friday, 13 planes brought holidaymakers delighted that they won’t be returning to 14-days quarantine, and on Saturday that number increased to at least 15.

Interviewed at the airport by TVI24, João Fernandes, president of RTA, the Algarve’s regional tourism board, said reservations taken by TAP had increased by 300% in just the first few hours post-announcement.

Despite worrying headlines in the British press about the price of tickets ‘rocketing six-fold’, the truth has been that airlines are offering all kinds of deals, as are hotels and travel agencies.

People who had previously cancelled holidays have now re-booked, and all in all, the shot in the arm for regional tourism is having instant effects.

Said Fernandes, it has been “very important” that the travel corridor opened before September, traditionally the month with the most number of “sleep-overs” by Britons (meaning those that come, come for longer periods of time).

“Last year we had around 758,000 sleep in September and October was the 4th month with most bookings”, he said. “This means we have two quite significant months ahead of us”.

The weather in the Algarve is generally excellent for the beach until October,  Fernandes added, plus it’s the month that British golfers tend to descend on the Algarve en-masse”.

João Fernandes also showed confidence that ‘nature tourism’ and ‘nautical tourism’ niches would encourage British holidaymakers to head here.

Could this mean the Algarve winter will end up making up for the ruined summer, in terms of tourist numbers, he was asked.

“It would be marvellous if it did but pretty unlikely”, Fernandes considered – though the region will be pulling out all the stops to make as much as possible out of sporting fixtures like the Portugal Grand Prix at Algarve International Autodrome in October and Moto GP in November.

Read more at;

theportugalresident.com

Coronavirus: Portugal back on England's quarantine list - 10th September 2020

Travelers from mainland Portugal to England will have to quarantine from 04:00 BST on Saturday,

Travelers from mainland Portugal to England will have to quarantine from 04:00 BST on Saturday, just weeks after the country was put on the safe list.

Wales and Scotland had already imposed the mandatory two weeks of self-isolation earlier this month.

Quarantine-free travel is still allowed from the Portuguese islands, the Azores and Madeira.

Meanwhile, Sweden has been made exempt from quarantine for Wales, England and Scotland.

Portugal, one of the UK's most popular holiday destinations, was given an exemption from UK quarantine rules as recently as 22 August.

But since then the infection level has been rising. It now has 28.3 infections per 100,000 people, above the threshold of 20 per 100,000 people which the UK generally uses for adding countries to the quarantine list.

It comes as the UK's confirmed coronavirus cases rose by another 2,919, the fifth consecutive day that the figure has been more than 2,000. Another 14 deaths were reported within 28 days of a positive test.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that because of "enhanced data" the government was able to assess the infection rates of islands separate to their mainland countries.

On Monday, seven Greek islands were also added to the quarantine list, the first time that different self-isolation rules had been applied to the mainland of a country and its islands.

Mr Shapps also stressed that travelers must fill out the Passenger Locator Form on arrival to the UK, a day after the prime minister said enforcement of this part of the quarantine rules would be stepped up.

"It is a criminal offence not to complete the form and spot checks will be taking place," Mr Shapps said. 

Figures show that nearly 2 million spot checks have been carried out to ensure travelers have filled out the form, and almost 150,000 calls and text messages were made to check they were quarantining. 

Successful contact, where the traveler has been spoken to or responded to a text, was made 66,773 times with 64,800 people confirming they were self-isolating. Just 34 fines have been issued.

People traveling to England, Wales and Scotland from Hungary and Reunion will also be required to self-isolate, while England is additionally requiring arrivals from French Polynesia to quarantine.

Hungary has a seven-day rate of 31.6 infections per 100,000 people and French Polynesia's rate is 71.3.

Travel industry body Abta, along with the chief executives of airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways, is calling on the government to introduce testing on arrival at airports and to change quarantine policy so mainland regions can be treated differently.

"Every country, mainland or island that is taken off the government's travel list lessens the ability of travel businesses to operate and increases the necessity for the Government to provide tailored industry support," said an Abta spokesman.

bbc.com

Contingency measures bring new restrictions: gatherings limited to just 10 - 10th September 2020

As the UK limits the number of people who can meet at any one time to six, Portugal has announced its own new contingency measures, limiting gatherings to 10.

As the UK limits the number of people who can meet at any one time to six, Portugal has announced its own new contingency measures, limiting gatherings to 10.

The new rules will come into effect from Tuesday and are aimed at stemming the rising tide of Covid-19 infections.

Prime minister António Costa has stressed nonetheless that the increase in infections has not so far brought a corresponding increase in the number of hospital admissions, nor in the number of deaths which are holding ‘stable’ at around three per day.

Nonetheless, the return to school next week will almost certainly see a rise to the risks for new infections and thus the following measures are coming into effect:

● Commercial establishments cannot open before 10am (except cafés, coffee shops, hairdressers and gymnasiums).

● Cafés and restaurants within a 300 metre radius of schools will be limited to groups of four clients in their interiors.

● Hours of closing for businesses will be between 8pm and 11pm (decisions to be decided by mayors)

● Restaurants within commercial centres to be limited to groups of four people.

● No sale of alcohol (without food) after 8pm in any commercial establishment or service station.

● Alcohol cannot be drunk in the street / out in the open.

The overriding message is that Portugal won’t beat rising numbers of infections unless its population heeds all government/ health authority advice/ takes the necessary measures and ‘knuckle down’.

PM Costa has stressed and re-stressed the country ‘cannot support another lockdown’. Thus people are being asked to remain “very disciplined” in the way they behave.

Portugal goes back to Calamity: masks ‘obligatory in busy streets’ - October 14th 2020

The proposed law, put forward by opposition PSD, comes as the PS Socialists’ own proposal for a new draft law bombed spectacularly due to it including the obligation for citizens to download contact-tracing app StayAway Covid

Parliament today is expected to approve the use of masks in busy streets in Portugal for the next three months.

The proposed law, put forward by opposition PSD, comes as the PS Socialists’ own proposal for a new draft law bombed spectacularly due to it including the obligation for citizens to download contact-tracing app StayAway Covid (click here).

The PSD text is understood to have the approval of PS, Bloco de Esquerda and CDS-PP MPs, and thus is likely to get through all the necessary readings at lightning speed.

Nonetheless, there is dissent. BE has said it will be demanding the free supply of masks to populations (‘so that the measure does not penalise the most vulnerable’); PCP and PEV (greens) are abstaining from the vote altogether, while Chega and Iniciativa Liberal will be voting against (both parties have only one MP in parliament, so their votes are more a symbolic gesture than one that will make any difference).

Says Lusa the new rules will be enforced by security services, and fines for non-compliance will range from €100 to €500.

There will of course be ‘exceptions’: the draft law allows for people who have medical dispensations from wearing masks and for family members who may be in the street together and not correctly physically distanced.

Otherwise, anyone over the age of 10 in a public outdoors context where physical distancing cannot be achieved is expected to be wearing a mask. A visor will not do, warn reports. 

The measure is due to be in place for the next three months, and “could be extended”.

The PSD text does include another ‘exception’ to the rule, says Lusa – citing the clause that says it will also not be obligatory to wear a mask when this is “incompatible with the nature of activities that the person is performing”.

This sounds relatively open-ended but may include people jogging and cycling, and could include roadworkers performing heavy tasks.

https://www.portugalresident.com

Portuguese parliament expected to approve use of masks in busy streets for next three months - October 23rd 2020

Fines are to be “reinforced” for anyone found breaking the rules, while the proposal to make the wearing of masks obligatory in the streets and workplace is to be put before parliament (presumably later today).

As of midnight tonight, Portugal returns to a State of Calamity, meaning masks MUST be worn in busy streets and in the workplace, groups of more than five people are prohibited from gathering and a number of other major restrictions will come in place.

Said prime minister António Costa early this afternoon following an earlier than usual meeting of the Council of Ministers to discuss the rising number of Covid deaths and infections: “I appeal to everyone to adopt these behaviours. It is to include them that we have raised the situation of Alert to one of Calamity”.

Fines are to be “reinforced” for anyone found breaking the rules, while the proposal to make the wearing of masks obligatory in the streets and workplace is to be put before parliament (presumably later today). Stressed Mr Costa, it will apply “obviously with good sense only in moments where there are more people in the street” (ie in busy areas, like those currently most affected by the virus).

The decisions have been presented as ‘the only way’ to ‘safeguard’ both the SNS health system and the continued functioning of schools, colleges and universities.

In all these will be the ‘new rules’:

● Groups limited to 5 people, in street, shopping malls and restaurants.
● Weddings, baptisms and family events limited to 50 people.
● Any kind of non-academic ‘celebrations’ banned outright.
● Checks by police and ASAE food and hygiene personnel to be ‘reinforced’.
● Fines of up to €10,000 for anyone breaking rules over physical distancing or the numbers of people allowed to meet.

Say reports, the government is also trying to make the download and use of Portugal’s StayAway Covid app obligatory ‘in a work/ school/ academic context, as well as within the Armed and security forces and public administration (meaning State workers of any kind).

The decisions come as the country’s hospitals (in areas worst affected by the virus: the north and Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo) are starting to fill up with Covid patients.

Lisbon’s Curry Cabral is reported to have more today than it has had since the start of the pandemic. Wards are ‘full’ to the point that surgical wards are now being used to take patients suffering with consequences of the virus.

In Porto’s São João Hospital, intensive care is ‘almost full’, reports SIC television news. Of 10 beds available, eight are already taken up with Covid patients.

Among the more than 80 people in hospital today are three children and one pregnant woman, says SIC.

One change for the better however is the decision to reduce quarantine time for asymptomatic carriers from 14 days to 10. DGS health officials announced the change early this morning.

https://www.portugalresident.com

 
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