“The government persists in continuing to ignore the specificity of tourist activity in general and the Algarve in particular, taking measures that do not fit or meet the real needs of companies in the sector,” reads a statement sent to The Portugal News.

“The government imposes, on the one hand, restrictive measures to the operation of hotels and tourist developments, such as the partial closure of restaurants and bars, forced to operate under a “room service” regime, restrictions on the movement of people, etc. and, on the other hand, it continues to insist that the hotel and tourist companies started the progressive recovery in July / August of last year.

“The simplified layoff, for example, is only applicable to companies that are forced to close due to legal imposition, leaving hotels out of the scope of this support, as hotels have great difficulties in proving income losses, since the comparative months recorded very high revenues”.

The statement continues: “In this context, the most basic rules of justice, common sense and public interest are mandated that the simplified layoff be immediately extended to the tourist accommodation sector, since the enterprises support, in the current framework, (Support to Progressive Recovery), an important part of workers’ wages and 50 percent of TSU”.

AHETA recalls that the touristic activity in the Algarve has been practically inactive since October 2019, that is, more than 15 months, and they expect this to continue an undefined period of time.

According to AHETA, the measures now approved ignore the reality of hotels and touristic entrepreneurs, since they do not allow the hotel and tourism sector access to the simplified layoff and, therefore, the suspension of employment contracts and exemption from the Single Social Rate (TSU), forcing companies to terminate jobs.

For AHETA, the urgent and immediate need for direct and consistent financial support to the tourism business sector is at stake.

“The government may not want to treat a chronic illness with aspirin. A serious and prolonged illness, like Covid-19, cannot be cured with short-term treatments. The government cannot continue to announce measures for three months when the problem, we all know, not only lasts for almost a year but will continue for quite a long time, at least as far as the consequences of the pandemic are concerned.

“Without this support, many companies will collapse and the rest will be too weak and fragile to respond to the competitive challenges in the recovery phase, as they will be decapitalised and will have lost precious assets, such as qualified human resources, management know-how and knowledge”, concludes the statement.