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News from afpop - Friday 22nd of July 2022

Michael Reeve - 22-07-2022

News from afpop - Friday 22nd of July 2022

Included in this briefing: 1. Situation of Alert 2. Travel 3. Drought 4. Fire Alert situation 5. Safer Bathing Season 6. Fuel Prices 7. 112 Call Tracing 8. Satellite offices

Good afternoon and welcome to this week’s Briefing, which will include a brief update on the issue of passport control for UK citizens. Members may have seen in the media that the government has issued a draft of its proposed new ‘Foreigners Law’, which we won’t include in these Briefings until it is actually passed. We have previous experience of government proposals being changed before they actually become legislation, so we will wait until the law is published and include anything that might be relevant to Members.
 
Perhaps the main topic of concern for many at the moment is the high fire risk, coupled with the water level situation. We have some updates here from local government and Civil Protection, but as always the advice is be careful, report any fires and conserve water where possible.
 
There is also some good news about fuel prices, so without further ado:
 
Situation of Alert
The Situation of Alert throughout mainland Portugal will remain in force until 23h59 on the 31st of July 2022, you can find further information here: https://afpop.com/en/afpop-latest-news-1?aid=187&bx=1
 
More about the measures in Madeira you can find here: https://www.madeira.gov.pt/Covid19
 
Measures for Açores you will find here: https://covid19.azores.gov.pt (you will find a translate button on the left of the page)
 
Travel
The existing Portuguese Travel Law was revoked from the 1st of July 2022. This means that anyone travelling to Portugal now no longer needs to present a negative COVID test, an EU Digital COVID Certificate or a vaccination or recovery certificate.

Especially for UK passport holders:
Over the last month I have had to travel back and forth to the UK for family matters and on each of the journeys I told the airport staff directing people at passport control that my wife and I are residents and we should use the ‘EU passport’ lane, both on exit and arrival in Faro. Each time the airport staff allowed us to pass, along with other UK residents, to the EU passport control. Since we advised Members of that, we have had a couple of Members tell us that they in fact were refused and told to go to the ‘All Passports’ queue.
 
It's not possible to know why of course, but perhaps it was at a particularly busy time and the staff were not in listening mode, or perhaps the particular staff members weren’t properly informed. My suggestion is that mild insistence should be employed here, because once you actually get to the passport control the SEF staff all seem to know exactly what the situation is and have accepted our residências and passports without question.
 
I am not sure if this use of residency cards will be extended to other non-EU passport holders, but we are looking into that.
 
Drought
The Algarve municipalities approved new measures to combat drought in the region, such as the closure of public municipal swimming pools in August (and probably into September as well) except for open/outdoor swimming pools in the more inland territories. They have also stopped ornamental fountains, reduced irrigation days and stopped the irrigation of public green spaces. The need for each municipality to "raise awareness" of the seriousness of the problem and the urgency of reducing water consumption was also reinforced. A serious problem is foreseen in the Algarve and in the coming weeks, when the region will double or triple its population, it will make the problem even worse, making the implementation of new measures more likely.

Fire Alert situation
The Alert situation due to risk of forest fires throughout the mainland has ended, but the minister appealed to a sense of ‘collective responsibility’ and implored citizens to be careful if using agricultural and forestry machines. (It is worth noting here that one of the major fires of two years ago was caused by someone using a strimmer and causing a spark, so it doesn’t have to be heavy equipment that causes fires.) The use of fire will still be banned in municipalities with very high and maximum fire risk. The restrictions will be regional according to the Rural Fire Hazard classification.
More than 60 municipalities in the districts of Bragança, Braga, Vila Real, Guarda, Viseu, Coimbra, Santarém, Castelo Branco, Portalegre and Faro present maximum danger of rural fire, according to the IPMA. If you use the link and click on the district, you will be able to see the restrictions and on the right side of the page you will find the explanation of the symbols.
 
Using Barbecues
This is a question that arises frequently and in fact the regulations do not prohibit the use of barbecues in places duly created for this purpose. On days of Very High or Maximum fire risk the use of mobile style grills and barbecues in rural areas is not permitted, or those installed in a picnic area such as those that exist in rural and forest areas. Below there is a link that explains what can or cannot be done depending on the fire risk.
 
This document is available on the IPMA website in the area of fire risk:
https://fogos.icnf.pt/SGIF2010/InformacaoPublicaDados/Restrictions_RuralFireRiskIndex.pdf
 
Safer Bathing Season
The National Maritime Authority (AMN) and the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) have once again teamed up to raise awareness about the care to be taken on the beaches during the 2022 bathing season, with the campaign ‘Together for a Safer Summer’. To minimise the number of accidents during the current bathing season, they reinforce the importance of complying with the recommendations, for a safer bathing season:   
  • Permanently monitor children 
  • Visit permanently guarded beaches
  • Wear suitable footwear when accessing the beach and when using beach facilities
  • Respect the beach signs
  • Stay hydrated
  • Choose to have light meals
  • Respect the digestion periods 
  • Avoid the hours of greatest sun exposure (11h00 – 17h00) 
  • Use adequate sunscreen
  • Do not approach unstable cliffs
  • Respect the instructions given by lifeguards, law enforcement officers and those who reinforce surveillance on the beaches
  • In case of an emergency, do not enter the water, call the lifeguard or call 112.  
 
Fuel Prices
Fuel prices will be reduced early next week. Gasoline and Diesel will drop by four cents per litre, due to the devaluation of the price of Brent.
 
112 Call Tracing
Members may have heard that from 2023 it will be possible for the emergency services to know the exact location of calls made to 112 for mobile phones with internet access.
The 112 call centres that are operated by the PSP will be modernised and will allow exact georeferencing of the caller. This is useful in cases where the person is confused, nervous or in a state of shock. We will inform Members in our UPDATE Magazine in more detail when the system is in place.

Satellite offices
afpop staff will be on hand in the Satellite Offices again in July. If you need advice or assistance, wish to introduce a new Member to the Association, need to renew your subscription or just have a general query, please pass by and see us.  Kindly contact the afpop office to make an appointment on 282 458 509 or info@afpop.com    
 
Dates of the Satellites are:
  • Almancil - Tuesday 26th of July between 10h00 and 12h30 (offices of MEDAL Seguros)
  • Lagos - Thursday 28th of July between 10h00 and 12h30 (premises of MediLagos on R. José Ferreira Canelas, which is behind the Câmara building- remember to bring a mask)

Sponsors
Alliance Partners
  • Medal Insurance
  • Algarve Resident
  • Blevins & Franks
  • Turismo de Portugal - Algarve
Associate Partners
  • Toldolanda
  • Golf for Greys
  • NCA Portugal
  • algarvedailynews.com
  • Mestre Raposa