“Portugal is probably the safest place in Europe”

By Bruno G. Santos, in News · 13-08-2020 01:00:00 · 23 Comments

When summer comes to the Algarve the temperatures rise and so too do the number of tourists looking to relax on the Algarve beaches and have fun with friends or family.

The entire traditional tourism sector in the Algarve has been affected due to the pandemic, not least the British market.
More than 15 percent of the visitors that come to Portugal are from the United Kingdom, while British tourists constitute the main inbound market when it comes to overnight says, according to INE.

Despite the mandatory quarantine period of 14 days imposed on those who arrive in the UK from Portugal, British visitors continue to arrive in Portugal and the Algarve with many citing the sense of safety and security in the country.

Francisco Ferreira, a local salesman stated that the majority of visitors in Quinta Shopping, located in Quinta do Lago, Almancil, are British. “Everyone is following the safety rules and I never noticed any disturbing behaviour from the tourists.”

A British tourist, who preferred to stay anonymous, told The Portugal News that “the situation concerning the air bridge is awful”, he said he couldn’t understand why the British Government is continuing to enforce mandatory 14 day quarantine once arriving in the UK, because “Portugal is probably the safest place in Europe.” The tourist also admitted that if there is no one making sure that he is fulfilling the quarantine he will live his life as usual when he returns back to the UK.

Rachel, a British tourist in the Algarve states that in her opinion all the tourists she has seen in the Algarve are following the safety rules by wearing masks. However, she does admit to seeing a tourist refusing to wear a mask inside a store “but the staff did not allow the man to enter the shop”, she said, supporting the idea that “everyone in Portugal is doing their best to keep Portugal as a safe destination.”

Like all the others, Richard Hill, another British tourist, feels safe in Portugal but when he returns to the UK he intends to follow the 14-day quarantine rules even though he believes “it is useless.”

Usually, at night, British tourists walk around the streets, enjoying themselves in bars and pubs in the Algarve. This year, things are different. Portugal does not allow gatherings involving more than 20 people. If this happens the authorities must be called. There are also new rules in place regarding the closing times of bars and restaurants, while nightclubs are no longer open until the early hours and don’t have any dance floor areas.

It is known that alcohol drinking can enhance the feeling of freedom and reduce the sense of responsibility in many people and the rules regarding bars, restaurants and nightclubs have been put in place by the government to reflect this.

While on the whole there have been positive reports regarding the behaviour of tourists there have been some incidents reported in the Algarve. On the night of 30 July, a group that came from another bar approached the parking area of Julia’s Beach Bar, in Praia do Garrão, Almancil. According to the bar owner, Martin Kerr, during that evening a large group of people gathered in the parking area and he had to call the authorities, since many of the people in the group were not following the safety rules, by not wearing a mask, for example. Within the group, there were young school leavers aged between 18 and 20-years-old.

Due to the low rate of infections in the Algarve, the group, of about 50 people, according to an RTP report, chose the southern region of Portugal to spend some time in safety. On the night in question the authorities were called “due to overflows from other overcrowded restaurants.”

The GNR was on the ground and managed to make sure that the gathering was dissolved, guaranteeing that everyone in the group was going home or to another area.

While the authorities in Portugal continue to work to show that the country is a safe destination for visitors, the government intends to present a report on the epidemiological situation based on the criteria used by the United Kingdom to try to change the travel restrictions to that country caused by Covid-19, announced the Portuguese Foreign Minister.

“We had formally requested that the United Kingdom present the report on which it says it bases its decision and we received a response to that request today [5 August],” said Augusto Santos Silva.

The Portuguese authorities will now present “information on the evolution of the Portuguese epidemiological situation exactly according to the parameters and indicators that the United Kingdom tells us it is using”, he explained.
With this adoption of British indicators, the Government hopes that the next review of the list of countries required to be quarantined by the United Kingdom will no longer include Portugal.

“I hope that a next review by the British authorities will finally mean the recognition of the facts, because, in my opinion, there is no fact in Portugal that justifies passengers coming from Portugal to be quarantined in England,” he said.
The United Kingdom has “carried out revisions in the most restrictive sense, because it included, in the list of these countries subject to quarantine, others that were not previously”, recalled the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The next revision of the list made by the United Kingdom should only be published at the end of the month, but the change in restrictions to Portugal may happen earlier.

“What the British authorities have said is that they regularly carry out this review, but that at any time they can do that”, which “is true since they imposed quarantine on Spain two days after they published the new list”, recalled Santos Silva.
Meanwhile, the President of the Republic has said that he hopes that Portugal will, by the end of August, be included on green lists for travel, including the United Kingdom.

“I am hopeful that, as the days go on and until the end of the month, there will be a complete transition from the worst or intermediate lists to the best lists in terms of tourism,” said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The head of state stressed that tourism is increasing, albeit slowly, and stressed that the pandemic situation in Portugal has evolved positively, which favours the lifting of restrictions on the movement of people.

“This is very important for Madeira, it is very important for the Algarve, it is very important for Porto, it is very important in general for Portugal”, he declared.

“There is an evolution in the black lists - let’s call it that - in favour of Portugal”, he said, reinforcing that “Portugal, in fact, has been following a path opposite to that of many other European societies, which are experiencing new outbreaks, which some consider to be a second wave”.


True, but the headline only refers to 'safest place', not beach destinations. Even among the usual European holiday destinations Portugal doesn't fare very well. Croatia, Greece, Bulgaria, Malta, even Italy and France have had fewer cases per 1 million inhabitants.

By Annie from Algarve on 20-08-2020 07:30

Tourists don't go to Scandinavia for beaches and sunshine.

By William from Other on 20-08-2020 01:27

No, the safest places seem to be Norway and Finland.

By Annie from Algarve on 20-08-2020 08:06

I am disabled and was on the endangered list in uk till recently will be travelling on my own.
After keeping a close eye on the news and facts regarding covid 19.
I am 100% certain the portugese govt have done an outstanding job in turning the situation around.
Credit to the government and portugese people.
And credit to portugal news paper for all the positive reporting on this beautiful country.
(Ps.this is my first holiday in 6 years after being bed ridden for 4 yrs. Cant think of a more safe place to travel close to uk .)

By Joseph Collins from UK on 16-08-2020 12:53

Sono rimasto a quarteira per 5 mesi dai primi di febbraio ai primi di luglio 2020,posso confermare che mi sentivo più sicuro li che non ora in Veneto Italia,sto già pensando di ritornare a ottobre 2020 in camper.

By Ettore from Algarve on 16-08-2020 12:18

Referring to a comment by “James” from Lisbon. Obviously knows very little about economics and politics. The UK not only are divulging figures for which calculations are not made public. They move goal post often re calculations and the reason is purely economic - Bojo is trying to keep the British public from holidaying outside the UK and rather spend their holiday funds within the UK as their economy is in a recession and worse to come after 31 December. Sharing my life between Algarve and Barkshire I fell safer in Portugal

By Marilia Guerreiro from Algarve on 15-08-2020 11:23

It's quite frankly absurd that the british government are still keeping Portugal on the quarantine list.

We arrived back in the UK just over a week ago, having stayed in Quinta Do Lago for 14 days. I can clearly say that the Portuguese people are reacting to the pandemic in a much more serious way, mandatory masks, actual distancing, hand sanitiser in every shop and restaurant, policing non wearers!

Having been back home for just over a week, the british government and public are an absolute joke. Mandatory masks, but people are still going into shops, restaurants etc without one and even the owners of the premises don't even follow basic rules. British people never take anything serious and I can definately see a second wave around the corner, which is no fault to the people who run our country for making ridiculous rules.

I'm glad we took the risk of going to Portugal, if anyone actually reads this, you will clearly see its a much safer place than home!!

By Thomas B from Algarve on 15-08-2020 11:14

The alleged British Govt don't work on the basis of evidence (publishing its basis might prove inconvenient) so Mr. Cummings just decides what they all think and it becomes Policy.

By Two.Sugars. in.my.Tea from Algarve on 15-08-2020 08:14

Been back in U.K. for a month after spending 18 weeks in Algarve never felt safer the Portuguese acted so quick to declare state of emergency and the mandatory use of face masks they couldn’t have done anymore and everyone had to wear them no excuses or you didn’t enter
What a shame this government didn’t do this as well then we would not have had to have the unnecessary quarantine on return just want to get back as soon as possible as not a lot of people respecting others here

By Dave from UK on 15-08-2020 06:36

You just burn instead

By joe harris from Beiras on 15-08-2020 09:25

Mas é claro que em Portugal se pode fazer férias descansado e não só, quanto a Covid Portugal é um exemplo a seguir,estive lá 3 semanas e vim sem qualquer dúvida que o respeito por a Covid em Portugal está a cima de tudo e todos.

By L. Cabral from Other on 15-08-2020 08:56

I came to the Algarve 2 weeks ago I’m here for another week with 7 members of my family, if I could stay here till this pandemic was over I would.I feel very very safe here much more than I do in the uk .when you leave your sun lounger or dining table everything is sprayed with sanitising solution, you can not walk in any covered area with out a mask on even while walking to your table, you are stopped as you enter a shop if you don’t use the hand sanitisers provided.Not like the uk where most people don’t have a mask on in the supermarket & they let too many people in at one time .I personally think it’s a disgrace that the uk have not given the Algarve a airbridge especially as we did not close our airports to any country at the hight of the pandemic and we had thousands of people coming in & they were not tested & they are still NOT testing people as they enter the uk , it’s all a bloody joke the way the uk is handling this pandemic.

By Marie Musa from Algarve on 15-08-2020 07:11

We are currently in the Algarve portugal, and have been for 2 1/2 weeks, and will be leaving in October. And i have to say i definitely feel safer here, than in England. The way the Portuguese are dealing with this pandemic is amazing. Maybe the government don't want us to see that!!! Everything is cleaned, card machines inbetween customers, pens if you have to use one, where you put you shopping, cleaned between customers, chairs, tables, sunloungers, everything... puts us to shame. I think Portugal should fear us coming, as we are 28 times worse than they are, and they still welcome us with open arms. It's a joke that we should have to stay home for 2 weeks on return. Safer here by far.

By Tracie Scott from UK on 14-08-2020 11:05

I went back to the UK last week by car. I drove through Spain and France. I did not tell the truth on the online form and I told the British guy in the passport control office that I had spent 3 weeks in France. After that, no problems. I think Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson are having a laugh.

By Mike from Algarve on 14-08-2020 09:27

Go to same apartment each year in September near Tavira. Easyjet changed our flight times which were unsuitable so we were forced to re-schedule for same time next year. This is my one & only holiday each year. Portugal appears to be better than UK - I am from N Ireland so have to stick by UK rules. However, I fail to see why Portugal is excluded from non-quarantine list! Having said this I understand that safety and well-being for everyone is paramount at this time.

By Kathryn Graham from Algarve on 14-08-2020 08:01

I had a trip booked to Portugal but it was canceled by the government. I'm not too concerned about a virus with a 99.7 percent survival rate. I'm willing to go just about anywhere I can virus or no virus.

By Kevin from USA on 14-08-2020 07:58

James from Lisbon, I think you are the only one who misread the article...nobody else thought it was from WHO. If you were Jaime from Lisboa, you might sing a different tune. So many locals need tourism to start paying their bills again, but if that makes you feel unsafe, stay home. Get a grip....don't be so selfish!

By William from Other on 14-08-2020 05:41

I’m wanting to come to Portugal to mafra we go every year to see my partner’s family but this quarantine wen we get back to uk ????????????

By Mandy from UK on 14-08-2020 04:59

Hia I'm from Dublin Ireland went to Algarve with my family last week and I honestly can say as I've told all my friends that this was safest I've ever felt on holiday. as it was a credit to people of Algarve Portugal the steps they took to make us feel safe every precaution that could be in place was and ???? I and my family would highly recommend going as we have to Qurenteen now but it was worth every bit of it .I wish the government in Ireland would take note of how safe yous made people feel and put Algarve on green list as it's a disgrace yous are not I felt safer in Portugal than I do back in Dublin hope every other country take note and put it on green list to one safest country's

By Elizabeth from Other on 14-08-2020 02:36

Very disappointing reporting but not surprising considering the obvious agenda that ThePortugalNews appears to have. One anonymous tourist states Portugal is probably the safest place in Europe and you lead with that headline like it was the WHO who stated it. Not only is the statement generic and vague it also happens to be completely inaccurate based on current released statistics in Europe. Understand that we are in a pandemic which is difficult to navigate. Covid 19 is once again on the rise and we will soon enter the autumn and winter seasons. The UK are absolutely right to put Portugal on the quarantine list. If the Portuguese put the countries residents health first they would also reciprocate that rule to the UK. Stop this silly agenda to open up the borders. Yes, the economy and thus individuals are and will continue to suffer but it is not more important than saving lives. Get a grip and grow up.

By James from Lisbon on 14-08-2020 01:07

Our holiday was booked 14 months ago, as we wanted a specific (very popular) villa. We feel totally safe and happy with the COVID situation in Portugal so we will be coming whether or not the airbridge is approved. We are lucky that we have employers who want us to have holidays and have agreed we can work from home during quarantine if necessary.

By Bev from UK on 14-08-2020 12:13

Having spent three and a half weeks in Vilamoura at the Crowne Plaza we felt wonderfully safe. We feel so sorry for all the people in the tourism sector who are suffering badly. The preparation they have undertaken in advance of opening is superb and we felt so much safer in Portugal than we do in U.K. Having read your article I just wanted to alert people that Track and Trace is operating. We returned via London from Faro on 27th July and went into isolation for 14days. I received a call in the 9th just to check I was observing regulations - And you have to be truthful as I believe they are using GPS to confirm you are being truthful. So your contributor who indicated they may return to normal life may be wise to think again. We visit Portugal 3 times a year and pray you are excluded soon from quarantine list - the Portuguese people deserve this. Thank you for making us feel safe and we had a great socially distancing time.

By Derek Keith from UK on 14-08-2020 09:55

Booked way back in January to my favourite holiday(algarve) covid happens, the world reacts. Now on road to recovery but sadly after All Portugal has done, my government quite simply want us all to stay put and spend our money in our own country. Portugal have done a much better job than us yet they are being penalised by UK government. Saddens me no end

By Stephen law from UK on 14-08-2020 07:34
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