The National Republican Guard (GNR), on Sunday, issued dozens of fines for administrative offenses to both establishments and people in Albufeira, in relation to the blatant disregard of the rules imposed due to the pandemic by a recent influx of young tourists, a GNR source told press this week.
According to the source, GNR personnel were first called on Sunday night to disperse hundreds of people of various nationalities who were concentrated along a public road and consuming alcoholic beverages on Rua da Oura – a well-known street in Albufeira infamous for its number of bars- in opposition to law and recommendations of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).
Despite nightclubs being closed, establishments were able to circumvent government guidelines by applying for “snack-bar” licenses, which allow them to serve alcohol up until 11pm.
"Several administrative offenses were issued to dozens of people for the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and to the owners of establishments that operated outside legally authorized hours," he said.
According to the source, who was unable to specify the number of infractions and infraction notices raised by the GNR, "there have been daily violations detected in the area" subsequently throughout this week, namely “disregard for rules imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and establishments operating after midnight, facilitating drinking alcohol on public roads " within close proximity of others without any masks in sight.
The same source added that the GNR has since reinforced actions to raise awareness among people and the owners of establishments about the risks that concentrations of people pose in this pandemic period, clarifying the mandatory use of a mask in closed spaces and for social distancing. "Despite the daily reinforcement of awareness-raising actions, people still do not respect the indications," he said.
For his part, the Mayor of Albufeira, José Carlos Rolo, told the Lusa news agency that the municipality will improve awareness actions among the owners of the catering and beverage establishments in the city, alerting them to the mandatory compliance with DGS rules on his part also.
"As of Wednesday, we will not only have meetings with the owners, but we will have a van circulating on the streets with speakers emitting information, indicating the measures in force in Portugal", he said.
According to Rolo, the abnormal concentrations of people detected in the last few days at Rua da Oura, "have been mainly young foreigners who are on celebratory trips, mostly Dutch", after having graduated from high school recently.
"I assume that the rules and recommendations in the Netherlands are different from those in force in Portugal and that young people do not wear masks and do not respect the distance rules, due to lack of knowledge", he concluded.