Councils and beachside businesses should be part of the decision-making process when it comes to the reopening and management of “small beaches” during the pandemic, said Lagoa Mayor Luís Encarnação.
His plea to the government came during a meeting with the owners of local beachside businesses on Monday (May 11) at the Carlos do Carmo auditorium.
“Councils and businesses need to have the freedom to create the rules relating to the management of small beaches in view of each one’s reality,” said the mayor, adding however that any decisions would take on board the opinions of the Portuguese environmental agency (APA), port authority (APS) and health board (DGS).
The meeting was held to give the council and business owners the chance to share opinions about how beach access should be managed this summer.
The mayor said he has been in contact with regional and national authorities in order to stress the importance of reopening small beaches this summer.
Supporting his views was Jorge Pardal, the councillor in charge of beach and coastal matters.
Luís Encarnação admits that the pandemic has already taken its toll on the local economy, with 90% of businesses directly dependent on the tourism sector.
“Our beaches are our most important sites of natural heritage and denying people access to these would be penalising and unjustified,” he said.
The majority of beaches in the Lagoa borough are small, such as Carvoeiro and Benagil, but all the more picturesque because of it.