The maximum capacity of beaches in the Algarve, as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19, may vary between 15 people at Praia da Marinha, in Lagoa - 20 at low tide - and 12600 at the beaches of Faro and Montegordo.
The Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) this Wednesday revealed proposals regarding the potential occupancy capacity of the beaches in the Algarve, West Coast, and Tejo areas, those where the ‘bathing season’ begins on June 6th. With regard to the Algarve region, there are two lists, one for the windward region and one for the leeward, which are in "informal consultation". The document can be found here.
In the East zone of the Algarve (between Loulé and Vila Real de Santo Antonio), the 31 beaches on the list, all of them concessional, are all considered to be large, so the maximum capacity is in the thousands for all of them. The only exception is Fuzeta-Ria beach, which will only accommodate 700 people at maximum. The APA identifies the beaches with the largest capacity as being those in Faro and Monte Gordo, both with a maximum capacity of 12600, and Quarteira, which will have a maximum load capacity of 6600.
In the West zone of the Algarve, between Aljezur and Albufeira, the situation is quite different, since here many beaches are considered small and, as such, will not be able to accommodate many people. The one with the lowest load capacity is Praia da Marinha, in Lagoa, with a maximum of 15 people. There will be four other beaches where no more than one hundred people can be at the same time: Arrifes (Albufeira, 30), Camilo (Lagos, 40), Benagil (Lagoa, 50), Lupines (Lagoa, 60), Albandeira (Lagoa, 70).
Altogether, there are 31 small beaches identified in the list for the West area of the Algarve, among a total of 79.
“In the context of COVID-19, it is important to guarantee the safety distance which may imply a reduction in the occupation capacity on certain beaches. On some beaches, particularly on large ones, the values now obtained may be higher than the load capacity defined currently” explained the APA.
“Determining the capacity of beaches is a complex exercise, which can lead to rules that are difficult to conceive, observe and comply with”, the same entity illustrated. That is why the population is invited to participate in the consultation. Those interested should send their contributions to the email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Only indicative’ – AMAL president’s view on beach capacities
"The figures put forward by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) are only indicative, although there is one beach or another, in one or another municipality, in which there may be an adjustment," said the president of AMAL, António Pina, to news agency Lusa.
In the opinion of the president of the association that aggregates the 16 municipalities of the Algarve, the numbers that were put forward are an important aid for the management of the Algarve’s sands, “so that one can create information for those who have to decide and choose a beach in safety".
“In order to understand if the beach is more or less full, we have to have an indicative number, so the document helps in managing and avoiding conflict. We are evaluating and, if we have to change anything, we are always available, because the important thing is to manage it well and carefully, in the sense of creating a safe beach”, he stressed.
According to Pina, the APA document “is not closed, nor is it an imposition and remains in constant discussion, so that it is as consensual as possible”. "I think we are on the right path, that of reaching an almost perfect understanding, because we are all in a new spirit, a new normal, a new reality", he concluded.