End of border closure sees surge in people entering the Algarve

By TPN/Lusa, in News, Algarve, COVID-19, Tourism, Business · 03-05-2021 12:16:00 · 7 Comments

About 5,000 vehicles crossed the land border of Castro Marim, in the Algarve, in the first two days after border lockdown ended and reopening of road connections between Portugal and Spain, police sources told Lusa.

Next to the International Bridge of the Guadiana, in connection between the two countries, there is no longer any control over vehicles and people and the crossing is done without any restrictions, both for Spain and Portugal. "On Sunday the road movement has been much higher than Saturday, namely with the displacement of Spanish citizens to Portugal, it is estimated that the number of vehicles may exceed five thousand", elements from Portuguese and Spanish authorities told Lusa. According to the elements of inspection at the border of Castro Marim, in the district of Faro, “the road traffic this morning was around 120 cars per minute, a number higher than that registered on Saturday and much higher than that of the first days when the first deconfinement ”. "With the reopening of the borders, there is no more control, but there are many Spanish and Portuguese citizens who call us to ask if there are any restrictions on passage," said a police source.

In the city of Vila Real de Santo António, in the Algarve, hundreds of Spaniards took advantage of the weekend to have lunch and shop in Portugal, indicating to Lusa's report that “the tour is at the same time a way of celebrating the end of the period of captivity". “We needed to go out and enjoy the outdoors, as we were in captivity for a long time,” said Cristina Tejedor, while enjoying a meal with the family of four on the terrace of a restaurant in Vila Real de Santo António.

The Spanish citizen said that she had long hoped that the borders between Portugal and Spain would be opened, "because in Portugal she feels more secure than in Spain". "The Portuguese are more disciplined, comply with safety rules and wear a mask, which is not the case in most Spanish cities," she pointed out. Cristina Tejedor added that many Spaniards "have the habit of going to Portugal on weekends, to enjoy Portuguese gastronomy and, on the other hand, to buy textiles that they don't find in Spain". For merchants in Vila Real de Santo António, the reopening of borders “is an oxygen balloon in the economy, helping to save many businesses” in the city of Raiana. "We need the Spaniards, our best customers and since Saturday there has been a great turnout and a great movement in the shops and restaurants of 'nuestros hermanos'," Manuela Romeira, a Algarve dry goods trader, told Lusa. a commercial space in the center of the Pombaline city.

On her side, André Costa, a restaurant entrepreneur, pointed out “the return of Spanish visitors, like a breath of fresh air, in a crisis that does not know how long it will take”. “We have had a high level of occupation in these two days, with about 50 percent Spaniards. The future is still very uncertain, but the reopening of the borders, gives us hope and motivation to work waiting for the situation to return to possible normality ", underlined the businessman, believing that" the summer can save the tourist year ". Lígia Oliveira, a trader in the textile industry, also welcomed the reopening of the borders, which "is being accompanied by the expectation of a resumption of business" in these first two days after the deflation between the two countries. “It is a joy for everyone to see the city center with a great movement of Spaniards, our main customers throughout the year. Between Saturday and today, what was billed already gives us some encouragement to proceed, ”she concluded.

According to the police at the border between the two countries, road traffic on the 1st of May this year, almost tripled in relation to last year, when circulation between the two countries was limited. Elements of the border authorities told Lusa that the road movement "is even less than expected, because many Portuguese and Spanish citizens are still unaware of the way in which the reopening of traffic is proceeding." "There may be some confusion that we believe may be related at the time of the first deflation, in which it became unclear but the borders remained closed with exceptions. At that time, there were many people who were forced to go back," said a police source. According to the same source, in a single day "more than 70 people were prevented from entering Portugal and also 'TIR' trucks full of goods, because some truck drivers were accompanied by women, a situation not covered by the traffic exceptions resulting from the government decree". The border authorities of the two countries estimate that road traffic may intensify at the end of Sunday, namely with the return home of thousands of Spaniards who traveled to Portugal over the weekend.

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Dear William
How utterly ridiculous your statement is. The previous comments where were about how 1 the algarve is described as one place when the reality is so different and 2 how the government society and the whole in general treat you. I think that it is you that would not be missed

By Sarah from Algarve on 13-05-2021 12:07

What did you expect when you decided to settle in a tourist paradise? Were you once the clueless vacationer, being catered to with lots of food, drink, and loud music? Sounds to me like they wouldn't miss you if you left...

By William from Other on 04-05-2021 05:32

Cynthia you are so right.As a fellow expat I am frankly revolted by this place.There is uncontrolled development concreting over all the reasons to come here in the first place.
The Camaras treat us like shit.The place is so heavily polluted by diesel fumes from vehicles it is impossible to drive with a window open..
Electricity and Petrol are crazily priced for one of the poorest countries in the EU.

If you came here for peace and quiet forget it as restaurants bars and hotels blare out loud music that can be heard miles away.

The whole people are friendly spiel is a lot of BS.

Airbnb has destroyed neighbourhoods

What was supposed to be paradise has become hell.

By James from Algarve on 04-05-2021 10:23

Get me out of this country asap. It is nothing more than a glorified mosney the people are mean rude obnoxious condescending... the list could go on and on. All these expats that come here for 2 weeks 3 months haven't a clue what it is like living here as an expat. Unless you have millions in the bank forget about it you are tossed to the side like the thousands of homeless cats

By Cynthia from Algarve on 03-05-2021 06:07

Related to Covid19:
Spain has around 10 times the amount of Covid19 cases per day, compared to Portugal.
Around double the cases per same number of persons.
Nice for them to come to Portugal to enjoy the freedaom.
Maybe not so nice for general peple of Algarve

By Gustav from Algarve on 03-05-2021 04:43

"This comes just as MAI (the Ministry of Internal Administration) has sent out a press release to media offices including Spain on a list of 19 countries whose residents are not meant to be travelling to Portugal for anything but essential purposes (click here).

The term ‘essential purposes’ does not encompass weekend getaways."

So here we go day one and uncontrolled entry into Portugal,laws already being ignored it feels like Groundhog day all over again.

By James from Algarve on 03-05-2021 03:34

A Spanish citizen said "The Portuguese are more disciplined, comply with safety rules and wear a mask, which is not the case in most Spanish cities," And now they are free to roam the Algarve!

By Ben from Algarve on 03-05-2021 12:34
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