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Portugal beaches: a guide to the new rules

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Portuguese Health Authorities have rolled out the definitive list of beach ‘do’s and dont’s for this extraordinary virus-blighted summer and the rules are not as strict as people had been fearing.

The Navy will watch unsupervised beaches “to avoid situations in which public health could be put at risk”. But no one will be telling people to leave and go to a ‘supervised beach’ where virtual ‘traffic lights’ will indeed be controlling numbers.

These ‘traffic lights’ will be in the form of flags flown on the beaches (green signalling low occupation, in other words: yes, ‘come on over’; yellow signalling elevated occupation, and red meaning: ‘find another beach, this one’s full’).

A new mobile phone app for iOS and Android, “info praias” will also carry this information for supervised beaches, so allowing beach goers to plan ahead.

Rules in effect starting June 6

  • Sunshades are to be 3 metres from each other, with no more than five people under one at any one time
  • Beachgoers have to keep a 1.5 meter distance between each other at all times (unless they are part of the same group)
  • People have to keep to delineated ‘corridors’ when walking along the beach, one for one direction, one for another.
  • There is to be no parking outside of car parks
  • No sports, other than ‘nautical activities, surf classes and similar sports’
  • Masks mandatory when entering beach bars/ beach restaurants
  • Regular hand disinfection – this is mandatory on arrival at the beach
  • Anyone renting a sun-lounger will only be able to do so for half a day (ie a morning or an afternoon), the idea being that this will give others the chance to go to the same beach on that particular day
  • Rules for beach concessions involve regular cleaning of sun-loungers and equipment throughout the day.

Portuguese Enviroment Agency has also released documents that state the limits of occupancy for each beach divided by regions: Western Algarve, Eastern Algarve and Tejo e Oeste.

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