Portugal closes beaches during Covid-19 outbreak

March 16, 2020 | Surfing
Portugal: no surfing during the new coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak | Photo: Pedro/WSL

The Portuguese National Maritime Authority (AMN) announced that all beaches are closed to the public.

The authorities are taking preventive measures to help contain the spread of the new coronavirus throughout the country.

As a result, surfers and beachgoers are not allowed to step on sand or water during the outbreak. All sports and leisure activities are suspended.

The ban applies to all mainland Portugal, but also the Azores and Madeira archipelagos. Failure to comply with the orders can lead to fines between 400 and 2,200 euros.

The decision arrives at a time when Europe is at war with Covid-19. Hundreds of citizens of the Old Continent have lost their lives during March 2020.

The most serious situation is taking place in Italy, where the number of fatalities has already surpassed 2,500.

Carcavelos: all Portuguese beaches are closed to the public to help contain the spread of the new coronavirus | Photo: Poullenot/WSL

A World-Class Surfing Destination on High Alert

"The decision to close beaches to the public is in line with the measures implemented by the Portuguese Government to contain the spread of the new coronavirus," AMN notes.

"This ban will be lifted as soon as all security conditions are met."

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the epicenter of the new coronavirus pandemic moved from China to Europe.

Portugal is one of the many worldwide countries affected by Covid-19.

From Gaia to Espinho, Porto to Matosinhos, Cascais, and Funchal, several municipalities had already taken a similar initiative, banning sports and leisure activities on the beaches.

The Portuguese Lifeguard Federation also urged people to avoid the coastline, stressing that the bathing season only begins on May 15, and there's now a higher risk of drowning.

Portugal is one of the most popular surfing destinations in the world. Tourism represents around 13.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

In 2019, the southwestern European nation welcomed 27 million tourists, attracted by over 300 days of sunshine per year, stunning beaches, and magnificent food and history.

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