Bathing season is “uncertain” in Portugal

in News · 18-04-2020 18:12:00 · 0 Comments

The opening of the bathing season is still "uncertain" for the sector that "lives on the sun", whether for beach concessionaires or lifeguards, who do not know when they will start working or if there will be enough lifeguards available.

“If we are unable to open our companies on the beach, it will be chaos, it will be very difficult for businesses because they will go bankrupt,” João Carreira, president of the Portuguese Federation of Beach Dealers, told Lusa, who maintains the hope that it is possible to “open slowly” in June.

According to the official, due to the covid-19 pandemic, concessionaires that are open throughout the year had to resort to the 'lay-off' and some are having “very serious problems” in preparing for the next summer, because they have already missed the month of April and “everything is very uncertain”.

The climate of doubt covers concessionaires from all over the country, including those in the Algarve, who “do not have great hope” that the tourist year may come to meet all the costs they have to bear with employees and other expenses.

“We do not have any forecast, nor any indication of a possible date for the opening of the beaches, so we are waiting to see what the possibility of we can still work this summer”, said Artur Simão, vice president of the Association of Industrialists and Similar Concessionaires of Beaches on the Algarve's waterfront.

In São Pedro de Moel, in Marinha Grande, district of Leiria, a businesswoman invested eight thousand euros in a project for the new beach bar, but she doesn't know if she will be able to open it.

“I'm going to pay the license, but I don't even know how it will be. The bathing season opens on June 15, but we have no information. Let's see what the conditions will be, if you can open the bar or just set up the tents and awnings ”, mentioned Natália Loureiro.

The Alentejo coast is also "full of uncertainties" and expectations "a little bad" - the owners have been idle for almost two months and believe that the beaches will not be able to receive the same number of bathers.

“If I don't have people on the beach, I won't have the means to make ends meet. Possibly it is on the table not to open the beach and put one or two lifeguards to ensure the safety of bathers, ”said Catarina Gomes, who owns the campsite and concessionaire on Galé / Fontainhas beach, in Grândola, in district of Setúbal.

The 21 concessionaires in Costa de Caparica, in Almada (Setúbal), are “minimally prepared” for the start of the bathing season, but doubts remain about how to proceed when they can work.

“The beach is going to be a mess, with a lot of people together. There is a part of the beach that is private and we can put some distance between those who rent a hat, but then there is the whole front that is for everyone and there is no control ”, pointed out the president of Associação Apoios de Praia Frente Urbana da Costa de Caparica, Acácio Bernardo.

In this context, Fátima Cunha, president of the Póvoa de Varzim Dealers' Association (Porto) defended that “there must be another way of being on the beaches”, which is why we await instructions from the competent authorities to “draw a line of action”.

However, even though the bathing season may start in general in June, there is another “big problem” that is worrying the sector: “the lack of lifeguards”, because the covid-19 also prevented the courses.

The situation was confirmed by the president of the Portuguese Federation of Lifeguards-Lifeguards, Alexandre Tadeia, who doubts that “it is possible to train the same number of guards” as in previous years ”, not least because the course lasts a month.

"We have a study that tells us that only 50% of lifeguards return to work the following season, which means that every year we have to train approximately half of the lifeguards we need for the bathing season," he explained. .

This year between 1,500 and 2,000 beach guards should have been trained, which led the National Maritime Authority to extend the validity of cards that have recently expired, but the measure may not be enough.

"Right now we have many certified lifeguards in Portugal, but the problem is not the certification, but how many are available to work", he stressed.

For Alexandre Tadeia, it is necessary to encourage these professionals through benefits such as the exemption from VAT, the reduction in the value of tuition fees in college or even a reduction in the number of security guards per concession, because “it is better to have some security than to have none. ”.

“We are extremely concerned, not least because we had been reducing the number of drowning deaths in Portugal. In 2017 we had 122, in 2018 there were 117 and the numbers for 2019, which have not yet been published



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