Holidaying under the shadow of coronavirus
- Credit: Archant
On landing in Lisbon my double vaccination status, NHS covid pass and completed passenger locator form allowed smooth access into the country.
The Portuguese authorities passenger locator form is a specific requirement of the country. There was some confusion in the airport because different countries require different documents or none at all, but admittedly we had filled out our forms last minute in the airport terminal.
Here most tourist attractions are open albeit with some restrictions. Social distancing means reduced capacity and slightly longer queues.
In Portugal mask wearing is still mandatory. In my experience compliance rates seem much higher in Lisbon than in the UK.
Masks are worn by the overwhelming majority of people in shops, supermarkets and corridors including apartment stairways and lifts. They are also a necessity for outdoor markets and worn by some in busy streets.
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Portugal now has a vaccination rate of over 70 per cent and is gradually reopening. In August the R-rate rose but is still below one per cent, at around 0.9 per cent across the country (currently rates in the UK fluctuate between 0.9 per cent and I.2 per cent.)
On August 20 a relaxation of the rules allowed a higher number of people to meet indoors and outdoors. Inside the numbers rose from six to eight and outside from 10 people to 15.
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Still clubs remain closed and on July 10 the Portuguese government introduced rules regarding who can enter bars and restaurants.
It requires these establishments to check that their customers that intend to sit inside have the EU digital Covid-19 certificate. This confirms that they are either double vaccinated, have recently recovered from Covid or have had a negative test.
The NHS Covid pass cannot be used for this purpose, as it is not yet considered an equivalent
document by the EU.
As a British tourist this makes going out at the weekend a little more difficult, annoyingly proof of a negative test may be needed to enjoy yourself to the full.
However, I have found that whether UK vaccination status is accepted or not very much depends on the establishment. In places that insist on scanning the pass barcode entrance is not possible.
For others displaying the UK pass and explaining your vaccination status can be adequate. But perhaps it helps that I'm travelling with a native Portuguese speaker.