“The beaches are safe, we have lifeguards prepared to start operating and we look forward to tourism. We are at the forefront of tourism, the beaches are in great demand. We are here with all our strength to help the country to rise,” João Carreira told Lusa.

The Government has already announced that this year it will maintain the same rules for access to beaches that it established in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to Lusa, the president of the Portuguese Federation of Beach Concessionaires said that, with this announcement from the Government, they can already start, by hiring people.

“We had already started to prepare, but now we are going to prepare even more. Before, it was difficult to start hiring people. We didn't know what was going to happen, but now we can start hiring people and start working with the minimum services”, he said.

“Last year we had good weather, but we had all these conditions that we all know. (…) It was a year in which we had huge declines in terms of revenue. Hopefully, with the vaccine situation, things will get better quickly. We are expectant, we are here to help be part of the solution”, he stressed.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister, António Costa, announced that "this year the same regime that was established by the Directorate-General for Health [DGS] for the beach season last year" will be in force ".

Last year it was determined that beach users should ensure a physical distance of 1.5 metres between different groups and a distance of three metres between parasols.

The use of beaches was prohibited to "sports activities with two or more people, except nautical activities, surf lessons and similar sports".

Regarding parasols and shades "as a rule, each person or group could only rent in the morning [until 13:30] or in the afternoon [from 14:00]", with a maximum of five users.

A “traffic light type” was also installed, in which the green colour indicated low occupancy (1/3), yellow high occupancy (2/3) and red full occupancy (3/3).

Information on the state of occupation of the beaches was updated continuously and in real time on the ‘Info beach’ application and on the website of the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA).