On January 12, 2020, The World Health Organization confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in the Hubei province in China, primarily in Wuhan. It was just two weeks prior, on December 31, 2019, that the disease had been reported to the WHO for confirmation. As the disease spread from China to countries such as Italy and Iran, the world became aware of its severity. Unlike other viruses that have come and gone in recent decades, the level of transmission and ease of infection is higher than that of the seasonal cold or flu. Portugal had not been devastated by this virus until the first week of March, when on March 2nd, 2020, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was announced in Portugal. The first positive case in the Azores was declared on March 15, 2020. The government reacted promptly to address the issue, encouraged social distancing, and put the entire country of Portugal in a “State of Emergency” on March 18, 2020. The Portuguese economy was put on almost a full lockdown, which resulted in a significant decline in GDP and nearly all sectors of the economy saw losses up to 90%. This was the case throughout the world, and the Portuguese economy relies heavily on tourism and exports, both coming to an almost complete halt during the three months from March to May 2020. In May, the government began easing restrictions on many sectors of the economy, allowing businesses to open with specific rules. The Clean and Safe program that the government enacted to restore confidence in the tourism sector was much appreciated by companies in all industries, from restaurants to hotels. The plan sets minimum hygiene and sanitation standards that must be followed to be on the safe list. The country has one of the lowest infection rates in western Europe, with as of October 15, 2020, just over 93,000 confirmed cases, compared to bordering country Spain which has ten times that number, at over 900,000 cases. In Portugal, Madeira, and The Azores, there are a total of 9 hospitals that have been designated to treat covid-19 patients. Seven in mainland Portugal, one in Madeira, and one in the Azores.
As of October 24, 2020, in Portugal, Azores, and Madeira:
|Total confirmed cases||116,109|
|Total cases (men)||52,857|
|Total cases (women)||63,252|
|Total deaths (men)||1,168|
|Total deaths (women)||1,129|
|Currently admitted to hospital||1455|
|Currently admitted to ICU (Intensive Care Unit)||221|
Entry into Portugal is allowed for: The Government of Portugal currently prohibits non-essential (tourist) travel for U.S. citizens traveling directly to Portugal from the United States. Certain exceptions allow travel for professional, study, family reunification, health or humanitarian reasons. All Americans arriving in the Azores must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours before arrival. Travelers who wish to remain in the Azores for more than seven days will be required to test again on the 5th day. To speed the process on arrival, the Azores’ Regional Government suggests travelers complete a health questionnaire at least 72 hours before disembarking. Portuguese airports in Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Ponta Delgada, Funchal, and Lajes have implemented a body temperature measurement requirement upon arrival. Portuguese authorities announced that foreign passengers arriving aboard ships and other vessels will not be allowed to disembark.
- Portuguese nationals, holders of residency permits, and holders of other long-term visas issued by Portuguese authorities may enter the country.
- Third country national holders of residency permits or long-term resident visas issued by EU member states may transit Portugal to return to their country of residence.
- US citizens who are lawful residents of EU member states may enter Portugal.
- Long-term visa holders are allowed but should contact the nearest Portuguese Embassy or Consulate to confirm that their visa qualifies.
Overnight stays spent in the Azorean hotels and similar establishments, tourism in rural areas, and lodging tourism and local accommodation decreased by 68,7% in August 2020 compared with August 2019. From January to August, overnight stays decreased by 74,4% compared with the same period in 2019.
Overnight stays spent in the Azorean hotels and similar establishments decreased by 70,4% in August 2020 compared with August 2019. From January to August, overnight stays spent in the Azorean hotel establishments decreased by 74,4% compared with the same period in 2019; overnight stays spent by residents decreased by 62,3% and overnight stays spent by non-residents decreased by 84,3%. Guests registered a decrease of 67,6% in August and a decrease of 72,0% from January to August.In August 2020, the average stay was 2,83 nights (-8,9%) and the bed occupancy rate stood at 27,1% (-48,3 p.p.). Total revenue decreased by 72,3% and revenue from accommodation decreased by 73,5% in August 2020. Overnight stays spent in the Azorean local accommodation decreased by 66,1% in August 2020 compared with August 2019. From January to August, overnight stays spent in the Azorean local accommodation decreased by 73,9% compared with the same period in 2019; overnight stays spent by residents decreased by 50,6% and overnight stays spent by non-residents decreased by 83,0%.