President Marcelo threw himself into the spirit of the official start of 2020’s bathing season this morning by removing his facemask and clothes and diving straight into the calm waters of Ericeira beach.
In the Algarve, however, Prime Minister António Costa was more circumspect.
In this surreal pandemic year where even lifeguards are being advised to ‘stay out of the water’ in the interests of containing the spread of Covid-19, PM Costa chose to visit the popular beach in rising summer heat in a full business suit.
Flanked by the minister of the environment, equally formally-dressed, and various other dignitaries, the message in Praia da Rocha today was ‘yes, the beach is good for us, but we all have to continue following the rules’.
Particular focus was given to the online app ‘info praia’ which Mr Costa stressed people heading for the beach should consult before they leave home so as to ensure they end up at a beach that isn’t ‘overly occupied’.
The rules this year can be consulted here.
As PM Costa said in Praia da Rocha, if everyone complies with them we can all continue “to have the freedom to go to the beach” this year.
“Our health needs it”, he added.
Emerging from his swim further north, President Marcelo declared the water ‘warm’ and wonderful. Possibly with this year’s advice for lifeguards in mind, he warned people who don’t know how to swim to ‘take care’.