GNR out in force to ‘stop drivers going out for weekend, particularly in direction of Algarve’

GNR police are out in force today stopping drivers in a bid particularly to dissuade people from ‘heading south’ to enjoy the sun.

The Ministry of Interior Administration sent out orders to security forces on Friday to tighten controls on the roads this weekend and throughout the Easter period.

Emphasis was to stop traffic heading to the Algarve.

By coincidence owners of holiday rentals in the region have been sharing inquiries they have over social media, along with their terse replies.

The truth is people are now more concerned about facilitating the ‘importation of the virus’ into the region than making a bit of unexpected rentals money.

So far, the Algarve has been spared the worst of this outbreak, with numbers still well below those registered in the north, centre and Lisbon areas (see Covid-19 updates click here).

Thus reminders today – even coming from President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa – are ‘respect the State of Emergency and stay home’.

Says a statement put out by the interior ministry so-called weekend excursions ‘will not be tolerated’ on the basis that they put the health of those travelling, and everyone they may come into contact with, at risk. 

Police already interviewed on national television say they are also cracking down on vehicles with more than two occupants.

Beaches everywhere are also the subject of stricter controls with various boardwalks up and down the country ‘off limits’.

Says the ministry statement, every outing “must be limited to what is strictly necessary” and in line with all the obligations and duties of the State of Emergency (click here)

It is perhaps worth remembering here that the first two cases in Portugal were registered on March 2. Just 26 days on we have over 5,000 confirmed cases, almost as many people awaiting the results of tests, 89 people are in intensive care and 100 already dead.

Update: the image for this story changed this evening due to the volume of traffic witnessed on Lisbon’s 25 de Abril bridge as vehicles headed south. Said police, dozens of people stopped and questioned admitted they were trying to get to the beach… Regional Facebook sites have started appealing to followers to denounce any visitors from the capital to local police. Says the Discover Lagos page: “They won’t just be putting their lives at risk, but the lives of all of us and therefore our jobs. If this situation gets out of control in the Algarve, we won’t even get a summer…”

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com