Portimão Mayor has made a desperate plea to the government, calling for “urgent measures to prevent an economic catastrophe”. Isilda Gomes expressed her fear and apprehension about the future to Secretary of State for Tourism Rita Marques last week during a virtual meeting.
The borough, like so many others in the Algarve, has been blighted by rising Covid-19 cases in the last few weeks, a situation that has only worsened the devastating impact the pandemic is having on local businesses, particularly those dependent on tourism.
In order to prevent the local economy from collapsing, the mayor defends that the government must take action to support local businesses through “extraordinary support measures”.
Isilda Gomes also expressed her bewilderment as to why the region’s vaccination efforts were not boosted earlier.
“As a tourism destination, the Algarve should see businesses operating as normal as possible at this time of year,” the mayor said, adding that this is not happening which is likely keeping Portuguese holidaymakers away.
As the borough is coming to terms with what will likely be “a very bad summer” which will result in an “economic catastrophe”, the mayor supported the idea of lifting restrictions for people who have been vaccinated or have tested negative for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours.
While the new rules for restaurants have only made the situation worse for the sector (click here), Gomes believes it is a way of “encouraging mass vaccination while at the same time protecting our economy and allowing companies to work”.
The mayor also suggested opening up the vaccination programme to “anyone who wants to get vaccinated, no matter their age”, in order to speed up the process.
Even the local opposition has thrown its support behind the mayor’s calls. Said Carlos Gouveia Martins, head of the local PSD delegation, “these meetings are always positive as long as they are not just for showoff”.