Regional health delegate Ana Cristina Guerreiro addressed the alleged lack of social distancing at last weekend’s F1 Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimão, expressing concern over “some situations” but stressing that recommended distances were respected for the most part.
“I was concerned about some situations. I also want to tell you that some photos are misleading sometimes,” she told TV reporters near the end of the event, referring to one particular photo widely shared on social media which showed almost no distancing between spectators.
The health delegate also said she had access to aerial images of the racetrack and that social distancing recommendations were being followed “except in one or two areas”.
Still, Guerreiro admitted that 27,500 spectators may have been too large a number to ensure safety recommendations were followed.
Indeed, it seems that some spectators were allowed into the racetrack even after the doors had been closed. As the health delegate explained, these people had purchased tickets, but the 27,500 capacity had already been reached by the time they arrived at the gates.
As the situation was becoming “confrontational”, she said, health authorities decided that these people “should be allowed in”.
Whether this contributed to the social distancing issues is unclear.
One reader contacted the Resident to comment on the “absolute chaos” they witnessed at the event on Sunday.
“Car parks were full, and cars were abandoned everywhere and up to 5 kms away from the racetrack. In our opinion, a lot more than 27,500 were there as seating was tight and with very little social distancing in some stands. But to be fair, the vast majority of people were wearing masks,” the reader said.
Meantime, the event has intensified debates over the “hypocrisy” of the government’s decision-making, namely how an event with 27,500 in the stands is allowed to go ahead just a week before citizens will be confined to their own municipalities.