The Government published today an order, signed by Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira, authorising the reopening of water parks located in areas where the Covid-19 pandemic is more out of control, putting an end to the decision taken just over a month ago to send close these entertainment spaces if they were in a municipality with a high or very high risk of contagion.

The pandemic situation has been worsening in recent times: If last week there were 60 councils that caused special concern, now there are 90, according to data put forward today by the Minister of the Presidency. And it is precisely in these areas of the country that the parks were prevented from opening to the public and will now be able to return to operation, but complying with the guidelines of the General Directorate of Health.

The technical opinion issued a year ago by the DGS underlines that the treatment of water in swimming pools, as well as the use of disinfectants in water parks "is well implemented and should be reinforced", in order to avoid microbial contamination of water by inflow of users. The entertainment spaces already have contingency plans, reduced the maximum daily capacity of visitors, delimited spaces for people to keep their distance and reinforced the hygiene of spaces. The DGS also recommends trying to control the agglomerates of people accessing parks, in queues or by the swimming pools, as well as warning of the need to have alcohol-based solution dispensers and to disable drinking fountains.

The proper procedures of these aquatic places with regard to water disinfection (with chlorine or bromine) "are effective and sufficient to inactivate the virus" and "chlorine is considered an excellent water disinfectant in swimming pools", reads the published opinion a year ago. After analysing the criteria and procedures necessary for the reopening of these facilities and "taking into account the risk of transmission inherent in its operation" and the activities that are made available to users, the Minister of Economy concludes that, "in the current context, it is possible to reopening of water parks”, reads the dispatch. The order enters into force on the day following its publication date, that is, on Friday. In Portugal there are about ten water parks.