"Mass testing and vaccination has to be one of the flagships of our Government and pass the digital certificates so that people can do their lives," Miguel Gião told Lusa after a meeting in Faro that brought together representatives of the catering, hotel and business sector.

The businessman, a member of the board of the Downtown Faro Cultural and Activist Association (OCAB), pointed out that the Algarve is the region with the "most delayed" vaccination, which could be contributing to the current situation, where several municipalities are at high or very high risk of infection.

"We needed a mass vaccination for those working in tourism, because they deal with people from different countries and should be called upon, just as happened with teachers," he argued.

The leader stressed that vaccines are "available and unlimited in the Lisbon region", but at a time when tourists flock to the region, "a reinforcement in the Algarve" would be necessary.

Miguel Gião complained that in Faro alone there's the possibility of vaccinating around 1.000 people per day, but "only 300 vaccines arrive".

Another of the proposals that came out of the meeting is positive discrimination for those who have the Covid-19 digital certificate, so that these people can "stay in the places after the time that the others would have to pick up".

For businessmen, this would be an incentive so that "those who wanted to keep their freedom" and enjoy the spaces during normal hours "would go and get vaccinated".

The revision of the calculations of the risk matrix is another of these sectors' demands - also defended by various Algarvian local councillors - so that tourists are added to the borough's residents when calculating the incidence.

Forecasts for the summer are very negative, as those who booked "are cancelling" and many people "won't book holidays", Miguel Gião lamented.

"We have the summer practically conditioned. We are going into the fourth winter in a row in the region and the reinforcement that was expected this summer is not going to happen. It's going to be a very, very tough winter. Recovery maybe in May 2022", he stressed.

The leader gives the example of a company with 27 restaurants and two hotels in Albufeira where "the only meal of many of the employees is the one they take in the workplace" and, at the end of the day, "they take their supper to eat at home".

"We're already talking about hunger, it's very complicated", he lamented.

Present at the meeting were leaders from the Algarve Hotel and Restaurant Industry Association (AIHSA), the Algarve Regional Commerce and Services Association (ACRAL), the Hotel, Restaurant and Similar Association of Portugal (AHRESP), the Business Association of Quarteira (AEPQ), the Association of Bars and Restaurants of Loulé (ABRL), the Quarteira Vilamoura Business Association, the PRO.VAR Association and OCAB.