The Algarve’s 16 municipalities have together decided to cancel all planned New Year’s Eve celebrations due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, some boroughs are still planning to hold their traditional end-of-year firework displays.
The announcement was made by the Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL) after a meeting last Friday.
“Even if these events were held outside, they would have to follow a number of DGS (national health board) guidelines, which mayors say would not be possible to follow, as the events would bring together large crowds of people,” the association said.
It is for this same reason that some boroughs have decided to cancel their firework displays, although some municipalities (such as Albufeira) plan to host them, nonetheless.
AMAL says it is aware of the impact that this decision may have on local businesses but adds that “the focus should now be centered on the protection and wellbeing of the population”.
Albufeira was the first borough to confirm the cancellation of all New Year’s festivities apart from its popular fireworks.
Elsewhere in Portugal, Lisbon Mayor Carlos Moedas has confirmed that “there won’t be the usual concerts on the night of December 31 because that would lead to large crowds of people. We are also deciding whether there will be fireworks or not”.
Speaking to CNN Portugal, he said he would be making a decision “very soon”, but that there is no doubt “big restrictions” will be announced.
Porto Mayor Rui Moreira has gone a step further and already confirmed the cancellation of all street entertainment, including fireworks.
“We are going to avoid crowds on streets. It was our intention to launch fireworks from the beach, but the circumstances are what they are, and we have to adjust,” he said.
The northern town of Braga has also confirmed the cancellation of all New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“We will have a wide range of Christmas activities, but we have refrained from organising New Year’s events. There will be no end-of-year celebrations in Braga,” Braga Mayor Ricardo Rio announced.
Other municipalities cancelling New Year’s celebrations include Nazaré, Espinho, Matosinhos, Gondomar, Gaia, Coimbra and Guimarães.
Meanwhile, Faro Council has revealed that it is channeling the money it was due to spend in its celebrations into a new initiative to support the local economy.
Entitled ‘Faro. Somos Todos’, the initiative will involve handing out coupons to anyone who spends more than €10 at participating establishments in the town.
These coupons will then be entered into draws for vouchers ranging between €30 and €200.
There will also be four special draws taking place on December 16, 23, and 30 and January 20, each awarding one lucky winner €10,000.
Says the council, the goal is to “stimulate the economy, especially the local restaurant and commerce sectors”.