Algarve nightclubs owners lament “another lost summer”

The reopening of nightclubs on October 5 announced by Prime Minister António Costa will be “too late” and spell “another lost summer” for the sector, the Association of Algarve and Southern Discotheques (ADSA) said this week.

Speaking to Lusa news agency, ASDA president Liberto Mealha said “it’s better late than never … but the truth is that this announcement will have no effect and represent another lost summer because, in October, the (tourism) season is practically over,” he said, adding that the decision is “harmful for business”.

While it’s “good news for establishments in Lisbon or Porto which work all-year-round”, Mealha fears the decision is “useless” for the seasonal Algarve.

“2021 is another lost year like 2020,” he said, adding that the forced closure of discos has had a devastating impact on the sector.

Said Mealha, only around 20 discos are still operating in the Algarve.

Each one employs on average 20 to 25 workers, some more, meaning that “around 500 families are certainly affected” by the government’s decision to keep discos closed through the summer.

However, the nightclub boss praised the decision to do away with limits on operating hours for other businesses.

“It was the right decision because many tourists have already expressed their unwillingness to come Portugal with businesses closing at 10.30pm,” he said, adding that many have been opting to go to Spain instead.

Yesterday saw Prime Minister António Costa announcing Portugal’s three-part plan towards freedom (click here). October 5 is the final date in the plan, at which point 85% of the population should have been fully inoculated against Covid-19.