Speaking to Lusa agency, the president of the Association of Hotels and Touristic Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA), Elidérico Viegas, was very critical of the decision announced on Thursday by the Council of Ministers to introduce a test or certificate requirement in hotels , in mainland Portugal, and within restaurants in high and very high risk municipalities, from 19:00 on Fridays and on weekends and holidays, a measure that currently affects nine of the 16 municipalities in the Algarve.

“An unnecessary exaggeration, an impractical measure of dubious effectiveness. Contrary to what the Government claims, that it promotes development, it further restricts people's availability to take holidays and contributes decisively so that many Portuguese choose to spend holidays abroad, instead of choosing to do so in their own country. ”, stated Elidérico Viegas.

The same source considered that the “hotel professionals are not health professionals, nor security forces, nor health authorities” and “are not qualified nor have conditions to comply with the measure announced by the Government”.

“And, therefore, we vehemently appeal to the Government to quickly and urgently reverse this decision, because it is against the public interest, not only regional, but also national”, said the leader of the Algarve business association.

Elidérico Viegas said that the decision announced on Thursday, at the end of the Council of Ministers, by the Minister of the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, “doesn't make sense, it's something without any nexus”, because, he argued, “hotels are not places where there are outbreaks of infection” and “there is no knowledge of outbreaks of infection since the beginning of the pandemic in hotels and developments”.

"Hotels are being bombarded with phone calls all the time from all the people who had made reservations, outraged by this decision", he warned, clarifying that, for the time being, there is still no cancellation of reservations, but warning that the decision “will not motivate people to holiday in the country”.

In the Algarve, of the 16 municipalities that make up the region, more than half (9) continue to be at high or very high risk, similarly to last week, but with some retreating to the highest risk level.

With the update of the risk map, two Algarve municipalities are at high risk, which are Lagoa and Portimão, which were in this situation last week, and seven are at very high risk, in which Albufeira, Loulé and Olhão remain and Faro, Lagos, São Brás de Alportel and Silves join.

Compared to last week, the remaining seven municipalities in the Algarve, namely Alcoutim, Aljezur, Castro Marim, Monchique, Tavira, Vila do Bispo and Vila Real de Santo António, continue to be outside the high or very high risk levels, but the most are on alert, with the exception of Alcoutim and Aljezur.

In addition to hotels, in mainland Portugal, restaurants are also required to require a covid-19 certificate or test to enter the interior, but only in high and very high risk municipalities, between 7pm on Fridays and during weekends and bank holidays.

This measure currently only applies to the provision of meals inside restaurants, leaving out pastries shops and cafes.

There are four types of accepted tests: PCR and antigen with laboratory results and also self-tests carried out in person (at the entrance of the establishment) or before a health professional.

To speed up access to self-tests, they will be sold in food retail, such as supermarkets.

This situation allows restaurants in high or very high risk municipalities to remain open until 22:30 on weekends and holidays.