Those who missed last week’s news that Canadians were not permitted to travel to Portugal for non-essential reasons may have been spared a few days of stress. As quietly as Canada was dropped from a list posted on the Visit Portugal website, it was added back in an update on February 19.

The situation began with a January 17 decision by the Council of the European Union to remove three countries from a list of those not subject to travel restrictions. Canada was one of the countries removed, despite having a far better Covid-19 report card than many that remained on the list.

Shock at being banned from non-essential travel, and disbelief that it happened without any fanfare, drove Canada’s prospective travellers to contact embassies, consulates, travel agents, and political representatives. Online forums, such as the one on the Visit Portugal website, saw a rush of postings expressing everything from incredulity and frustration to anger at forfeiting long-planned holidays.

As the person who wrote last week’s The Portugal News article about the ban on Canadians, and a Canadian who has rented the world’s best condo for a five week stay in the Algarve starting in late March, I have a vested interest in Portugal’s travel restrictions. Each day, I have checked the EU Council’s list as well as Visit Portugal's list, and each day I have been disappointed – until today.

Canada is still not on the EU Council’s list, but that may change when they do their bi-weekly review on February 28. In the meantime, Canadian tourists can visit Portugal again. We can wake to the sight of flamingos in the Ria Formosa, marvel at intricate tilework, and sit in an outdoor café as our fish is grilled to perfection.

Obrigada Portugal!