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Reopening of nightclubs good news but ‘too late’ for Algarve, says association boss

The reopening of nightclubs on October 1, the day Portugal will lift most of its pandemic restrictions, has been described as “good news” albeit coming too late for the Algarve.

The president of the Association of Discos of the South and Algarve (ADSA), Liberto Mealha, told Lusa news agency last week: “This should have happened earlier. It’ll be good for my counterparts in other parts of Portugal, but here in the Algarve it won’t help us much.”

With the busiest months in the Algarve already over, the region is now visited by “tourists of an older age group who do not go out at night. These clients are not enough to justify keeping nightclubs open,” he added.

“Around 80% of (nightlife) businesses will close at the end of October. Then we have four months where nothing much happens in the Algarve, which are November, December, January and February, with the exception of New Year parties,” Mealha said, stressing however that it is still good news.

“In fact, it is better than we expected. The end of all these restrictions was fundamental. Opening a nightclub without access to the dance floor or bar area would be pointless,” he said.

Liberto Mealha nevertheless agrees with the decision to demand a Covid Digital Certificate or a negative test at the entrance of discos.
“We have to get used to the idea that this certificate is a second passport in our lives now and that we are finally returning to normal,” the ADSA president told the news agency.

However, he regrets that many businesses didn’t last long enough to see ‘Freedom Day’ arrive.

“It is sad to see so many nightlife businesses permanently shutting their doors, because life isn’t just about work. We need to have fun sometimes, and the disappearance of these establishments won’t contribute, in any way, to the quality of life of citizens,” Mealha said.

Liberto Mealha also believes the reopening of discos and bars (in Portugal, bars, as opposed to ‘snack bars’, only serve drinks) will help prevent youngsters from crowding the streets, a reality now in cities such as Lisbon which has raised concern among local residents and businesses due to excessive noise and incidents of violence.

“This happens when people have nowhere else to go. From now on, I believe this trend will end,” he said.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com