Célia Santos frequents the Algarve beach and told Lusa agency that, last Sunday, she was able to verify on the beach of Manta Rota that the beach was “crowded” and people were positioned “without taking into account any measure of social distance.”
“The capacity of the beach is largely exceeded and there is no inspection of compliance with it. There is no social distance. There is no indication of the capacity of the beach, such as signs or flags”, criticised the user of the beach in the district of Faro.
“The standards are not being monitored or respected. There is no intervention by the authorities. The enjoyment of these public spaces in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic is an attack on public health”, said Célia Santos.
Carlos Sousa, who has been on holiday in the area for about a week and has been visiting the Algarve beach, also told Lusa that “the situation of non-compliance or greater proximity between people usually occurs.”
However, he stressed, this situation is more visible “when the tide is high or on Sundays when the influx of people is greater and many Spanish people take the opportunity to spend the day” at the beach in Vila Real de Santo António.
Questioned by Lusa about the complaints of users, the municipality guaranteed that, “all bathing areas in the municipality obey the stipulated rules” by the Government, namely “concerning the use of the beach, the existence of signs with capacity levels and the rules regarding the removal of awnings and the use of bars, restaurants and beach facilities.”
The port captain of Vila Real de Santo António acknowledged to Lusa that the Manta Rota beach is one of the most frequented in the area - alongside Monte Gordo and Altura (Castro Marim municipality) - but guaranteed that the captaincy has not yet received complaints about non-compliance.
“The Maritime Police has been walking on the beaches and although especially at the weekend, there are reports of many people, we have no formal record of complaints”, said Rui Andrade, calling for compliance with the rules imposed to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.
According to the official, at the weekend “more people have been noticed”, but the situations of crowds depend on “a lot of people's awareness”, being “impossible to have a policeman on top of each one”, he said.
Also according to the municipality, in the concession areas, "the concessionaire will be able to intervene, determine and advise the maintenance of social distance between users".
To prevent the spread of Covid-19, the council "defined rules and installed information boards with prevention and safety advice at the entrance to all beaches".
It also determined “the use of a mask on all walkways and access areas to the beach”.