Phew! Six months after Pedal Portugal was taken off the road by Covid-19, it looks as if the wheels might soon be turning again for our guided tours.
Like so many businesses around the world, our plans have been turned upside down and inside out by the pandemic. This year should have been a bumper one – we had six tours planned for 2020, all fully booked.
We were lucky enough to complete one tour. Our Southern Explorer trip ended in Carvoeiro just a week before Portugal declared a state of emergency and went into lockdown.
Since then, Portugal has been one of Europe’s success stories in terms of managing the coronavirus. Infection rates and deaths have been low even taking into account the country’s relatively small population. The state of emergency was lifted in early May and restrictions on life have been gradually easing, although many precautions are still in place, including mandatory mask-wearing in many situations.
To help prevent visitors getting infected – and boost their confidence – the country’s tourist board introduced a ‘clean and safe’ designation so that hotels, restaurants, taxi firms etc can demonstrate they are following national health guidelines.
And it seems to be working. Apart from a couple of spikes in Lisbon and the Algarve, apparently connected to illegal parties, infection rates have stayed consistently low.
Now, even the UK governemnt has been won over. On Thursday 20th August, restrictions on travel to Portugal were lifted, meaning British people can visit without invalidating travel insurance or having to quarantine for 14 days on their return home.
Hopefully, it also means our tours might soon be back on the road. Our Eastern Frontier tour is due to set off from Guarda in just over a month’s time and, if it does, there will be three places available. So watch this space and get in touch if you’re interested in this or any other guided tours!