In a response sent to Lusa agency, the Guarda Nacional Republicana clarified that this year, to date, 167 cases have been raised for administrative offenses during various inspections at national level.
Faro was the district with the highest number of fines, with 89, followed by Setúbal, with 53, Beja (20), Leiria (2) and Braga, Castelo Branco and Portalegre, with one each.
According to GNR, the practice of camping or caravanning outside the designated places, as well as any form of overnight stay, constitutes a light environmental offense, punishable by a minimum fine of 200 Euros and a maximum of 36,000 Euros.
According to the statement, the GNR, within the scope of its powers, has the special task of supervising violations of all rules applicable to parking and overnight stays with motorhomes.
According to GNR, patrolling by the Environmental Protection Units of Territorial Detachments "has been able to effectively mitigate the impacts caused by this type of conduct, in protected areas".
On 15 May, a decree-law was approved by the Council of Ministers that establishes the exceptional and temporary regime applicable to the occupation and use of the beaches for the 2020 bathing season, defining the rules regarding circulation in the accesses, bathing facilities and the occupation of the sand.
Among other matters, it was decided to prohibit parking outside the parks and parking areas licensed for the purpose, as well as “the permanence of motorhomes or similar in the parks and parking areas”.
On 20 July, the Government clarified that motorhomes are prohibited from parking in parks and parking areas that access the beaches, in the context of the covid-19 pandemic, a measure that the sector federation considers "absurd".
In a reply sent to Lusa, a source from the State Secretariat of Tourism said that, taking into account the exceptional measures of access, occupation and use of beaches in the 2020 bathing season, the Government “understood that it was appropriate, necessary and proportional to ban ' motorhomes or similar in parks and parking areas'.
By prohibiting permanence, he added, "it was intended to prohibit both the parking (stay without occupants) and overnight stays (stay with occupants) of motorhomes in the parks and parking areas for access to the beaches".
On the same day, in statements to Lusa, the president of the Portuguese Federation of Autocaravanismo (FPA), Manuel Bragança, considered the impossibility of the caravans to park in the beach car parks “absurd”.