October 2nd, 2020
Read on for information about the situation in Portugal regarding Covid-19 and international travel. My intention is to update this article when I hear of significant changes so I’ll change the date accordingly, which will allow you to see how current the information is.
Borders, flights and quarantine
Portugal is allowing flights between EU and Schengen countries plus the UK because of the Brexit arrangements.
It is also accepting visitors from countries where the disease appears to be under control, namely Australia, Canada, China, South Korea, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Uruguay, Morocco and Tunisia. No quarantine is required in Portugal unless you test positive for Covid-19 upon or after arrival, although it may be necessary when you fly home, depending on your goverment’s policy.
These could change at any time so it’s best to consult this website to see the current status for flying into individual EU countries as a tourist.
Note that leisure travel from any other country is not currently permitted, so unless you are a Portuguese or EU citizen, the parent, spouse or child of one, or legally resident in Portugal, you may not be allowed in. Check with your airline if travelling for professional or other essential reasons to see under what conditions you might be allowed in.
Consult the World Health Organisation advice and that of your own governments in terms of whether you should actually be travelling and what the implications of that, e.g. quarantine upon return, might be. Even if you are lucky enough to have an insurance policy that covers you for Covid, it will likely be void if you travel against government policy.
Do you need a test?
As mentioned in my last update, Madeira and the Azores require all visitors to produce a negative (RT-PCR) Covid-19 test completed within 72 hours of departure or to be tested on arrival, free of charge.
A negative (RT-PCR) Covid-19 test, completed within 72 hours before arrival, is required on mainland Portugal for arrivals from all countries other than those listed above as exempt.
Portuguese nationals and residents who are travelling for essential reasons can be tested upon arrival but will have to cover the cost of the test, i.e. €100. Airlines are being held responsible, i.e. fined, for not allowing non-Portuguese passengers to board without a test.
What to expect at the airport
Portuguese airports conduct temperature checks and you’ll be asked to complete a Passenger Locator form, provided by the airline, with your contact details just in case it turns out you’ve been in contact with someone who has the disease. This process will go fully online by October 9th 2020.
You’ll need to wear a mask inside the airport and on board the plane.
More information from the Portuguese airport website here.
Clean & Safe Portugal
The Clean & Safe certification, which identifies establishments that are following the Health Authority guidelines for protective measures, is going from strength to strength with around 17,000 establishments proudly displaying the stamp of approval.
You can check in advance which restaurants, golf clubs, hotels etc. have the certificate on the Clean & Safe website.
See this article about checking the safety of your accommodation in Portugal and anywhere else.
Stayaway Covid app
If you have a smartphone, you can download the free Stayaway Covid app from Google Play or the App Store. It’s anonymous and will let you know if you’ve been in contact with anyone who has been identified as high risk so that you can get tested and take additional precautions to stop the virus spreading any further.
Safety measures in place in Portugal
Portugal is in what’s called a State of Contingency until at least 15th October, which means that gatherings are limited to 10 people and it is only possible to buy alcohol after 8 pm in restaurants if you are having a meal.
What you need to know
The whole of Portugal is subject to minimum safety measures and the government has produced detailed guidelines for various sectors in order to protect workers and the public.
Face masks are obligatory in taxis, public transport and indoor establishments including restaurants (not when you’re at the table) and hotels, although you won’t need to wear one in your own room, just in public spaces.
Whenever you enter an indoor establishment, e.g. museum, shop, tourist information centre, you’ll be expected to sanitise your hands. If you can pay by card, or even better, ‘contactless’, do so.
You don’t ‘have’ to wear a face mask outdoors, unless it’s not possible to maintain the 2-metre distance from other people but in busy public places, it is recommended, especially in busy streets.
In a bid to clamp down on the street parties and large gatherings that have led to a surge in cases, the consumption of alcohol in the street is prohibited.
There are now fines ranging from €100 to €500 for individuals and €1,000 to €5,000 for businesses for non-compliance.
Places that attract lots of people have a one way system for pedestrians in a bid to help everyone maintain social distancing.
Only beaches with life guards are open to the public and they have a traffic light system to control numbers. This table tells you what you need to know.
DECO, the consumer protection organisation in Portugal, has produced a booklet explaining your rights and duties in the realm of tourism and leisure during the pandemic.
Using Uber and taxis etc.
Capacity is reduced to 2/3 of the vehicle’s standard seating.
Wash or sanitise your hands before and after the journey and try to avoid touching things that aren’t necessary by keeping your hands on your lap during the journey.
The driver will clean the vehicle at least daily and disinfect door handles, seats and other points of common contact between clients.
As a client, you should put your own luggage in the boot (trunk) if you are able. You can only sit in the back seat and need to wear a face mask, as does the driver. Keep the windows open so that air can circulate freely.
How to get up to date information about the situation in Portugal
With new developments happening so frequently, I can’t commit to being the most up to date source of information for you.
The Safe Communities Portugal major incident page and their Facebook page are excellent sources of reliable information in English about the current situation in Portugal so please check their sites for the most recent and detailed information.
Visit Portugal also have additional information.
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