According to the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) “During the first weekend of the start of the 2021 Bathing Season [5 and 6 June], more than 198,200 people were on the beaches in mainland Portugal, with 27 red flags [full occupancy] and 28 yellow flags [high occupancy] registered," APA said in a statement.
According to the APA, the majority of the 278 municipalities of the Portuguese mainland began the bathing season of coastal beaches on 12 June, with the exception of the Algarve and part of the Tagus and West that started on 1 June and the municipality of Cascais that began on 29 May.
"During the month of June [from 1 to 27], it is estimated that more than 4.5 million people were on the beaches in mainland Portugal, having registered 259 red flags [full occupancy] and 359 yellow flags [high occupancy]," informs the Agency.
In this context, the APA indicates that the online app, Info Praia, which is available to download, is again active, with the aim of facilitating access to updated information on the beaches and the quality of bathing waters.
"On site, the indication of the level of occupancy of the beaches continues to be guaranteed by the green, yellow and red triangular flags," ensures the Agency.
The green flags mean low occupancy, which corresponds to a use up to 50 percent, yellow is high occupancy, which corresponds to a use between 50 percent and 90 percent, and red is full occupancy, which corresponds to a use above 90 percent.
For the second consecutive year, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has published the capacities of the beaches in mainland Portugal, in order to "ensure the safety of users and the protection of public health".
According to the Government's ordinance, published on 14 June in the Diário da República, Nazaré beach, in the Tejo/Oeste region, is the busiest during the 2021 bathing season, with a potential occupancy capacity of up to 17,100 bathers.
This year, the bathing season can run from 15 May to 15 October.
The rules for access to beaches and bathing areas this summer, established by the Government in the context of the pandemic, came into force on 19 May, establishing fines ranging from €50 to €100 for individuals and €500 to €1,000 in the case of legal persons.
Among the rules established (and whose non-compliance is subject to fines) is the use of mask in access to the beach and in the use of support, restaurants or sanitary facilities, the practice of non-individual sports, the non-compliance with the social distance between people and groups, particularly on the beach, and the non-compliance with the rules for circulating on the accesses, walkways and walls.
The concessionaires may also be fined for the lack of spaces with information about the rules or for non-compliance with the rules of the Directorate General of Health (DGS) in terms of hygiene and occupation limits of spaces such as toilets and restaurants.
As a general rule, the diploma establishes for users and concessionaires the rules to fight the pandemic that are already known: respiratory etiquette, physical distance and hygiene of hands and spaces during the use of the beach.
Before accessing the beach, users can check its capacity through information updated throughout the day on the mobile application "Info Praia" and on the APA website.