In a response sent to the Lusa agency, the National Maritime Authority (AMN) acknowledged that, in general, "people have complied with the beach rules", adding that the Maritime Police has maintained "an essentially teaching and awareness-raising posture" in order to limit potential infringement situations. Thus, between 18 May and 18 August, the authority registered a total of 27,108 warnings and issued 24 fine for non-compliance with the use of masks or visors and 11 notices for consumption of alcoholic beverages.
"Since the entry into force of Decree-Law No. 35-A/2021, of 18 May, we have registered one notice for violation of mandatory confinement, two notice notices for non-compliance with the general duty of home collection and two notices news for disregarding the rules of physical distancing”, can be read in the answer. Within the scope of the diploma on the use of beaches in the context of the covid-19 pandemic, AMN mentioned that 23 fines were also drawn up for unauthorised events or celebrations and 15 fines relating to non-compliant businesses.
There were also 10 fines relating to river and maritime passenger transport and maritime-tourism activities in breach or overcrowded. According to the law, a dine can be issued by the authorities when they verify a misdemeanour or transgression, and may correspond to different offences committed on the same occasion or related to one another. If the transgression corresponds only to the penalty of a fine, a voluntary payment of the same is allowed. According to the National Maritime Authority, the greatest number of occurrences was registered in the Center region, followed by the South region.
With regard to dogs on the beach, the National Maritime Authority, through the local commands of the Maritime Police, stated that it has sought to respond to any needs for the sanitary safeguard of bathing spaces and the tranquility of beach users, and that, despite these some complaints, “the occurrences do not constitute a significant sample in the actions of the Maritime Police”.
Contacted by Lusa, the president of the Portuguese Federation of Beach Concessionaires, João Carreira, revealed that the bathing season “is happening as well as possible”, although he recognizes that “it is nothing like in previous years”. “We work at tack, we are not working at 100 percent”, he said, noting that the events cannot be held “until too late”, as usual.
The official said that he was aware of cases in which the spaces of some beach bars had to close “due to covid”, to avoid contagion between employees who were positive, other colleagues and customers. Regarding the hiring of lifeguards, an issue that poses challenges to concessionaires every year, João Carreia acknowledged that, this year, due to associations that partnered with lifeguards in Brazil, the vacancies were filled. “And the feedback we have is that everything has gone well. The season, for now, is running smoothly, without many shipwrecked people”, he said.
The rules for access to beaches and bathing areas this summer, established by the Government in the context of the pandemic, entered into force on 18 May. In addition to regulating the access, occupation and use of beaches, the diploma also applies, “with the necessary adaptations, to the use of outdoor swimming pools”. The diploma establishes fines for those who do not comply with the rules, ranging from 50 to 100 euros, for individuals, and from 500 to 1,000 euros, in the case of legal persons.
Among the established rules are the use of masks when accessing the beach and in the use of facilities, restaurants or restrooms, and social distance between people and groups. Awnings and thatchs must be three meters apart, while for tents the distance is one and a half meters, with no more than five users being allowed per awning, thatch or tent. Outside the concession area, users must spread the towels at least one and a half meters apart, as long as they are not from the same group, and the parasols must be at least three meters apart. Street vendors can circulate on the beach, as long as they respect the rules and guidelines for hygiene and safety and must wear a mask when in contact with users.
Concessionaires can also be fined for lack of spaces with information about the rules or for non-compliance with the rules of the General Directorate of Health (DGS) in terms of hygiene and occupancy limits of spaces such as restrooms and restaurants. As a general rule, the diploma establishes for users and concessionaires the rules for combating the pandemic that are already known: respiratory etiquette, physical distance and hygiene of hands and spaces when using the beach.