Local leaders in the Algarve are urging people to ‘stay away’ and avoid travelling unnecessarily following the news that a couple travelled by bus from Lisbon to Portimão, where they own a holiday home, while awaiting their coronavirus test results which came back positive. The couple had been on holiday in Barcelona.
“These situations cannot happen again,” António Pina, president of the Algarve municipalities association (AMAL), told SIC TV.
“We are all making an effort. We cannot have a few people ruining the efforts of a whole nation,” he said.
SIC reports there are around 150,000 holiday homes in the Algarve, which is causing concern over whether the upcoming Easter holidays and nice weather will lead more people to do the same.
“Tough measures have been taken, such as closing campsites and raising awareness among holidaymakers to return home. And now we are faced with a lack of awareness from what I hope is a very small number of Portuguese who decided to come to the Algarve on holiday,” Pina said.
Algarve tourism board João Fernandes is also calling on holidaymakers to postpone their holidays and wait for a more appropriate time to visit the region.
“It even goes against our nature. Our job is to invite people to visit us, we want to welcome them, but we want them to be healthy,” he said, adding that hopefully in the summer they will be able to explore what the Algarve has to offer.
However, the “most responsible thing to do” now is to encourage people to stay at home.