Archive for April, 2020

Vouchers instead of refunds for cancelled passenger flights

Apr 30 2020 Published by under COVID19

Portugal with 11 other EU countries asked the Commission for a temporary change in the rules for passengers with cancelled flights, giving them vouchers instead of cash refunds, due to the airlines’ difficulties.

In a joint statement presented to the EU executive, Portugal, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, France, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands and Poland argue that that “the pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on international transport, including air transport”.

For these countries, the European regulation to assist air passengers in the event of cancellation of flights is putting “airlines in a difficult situation, where they face a serious challenge in terms of liquidity”, as it allows clients to choose between cash refunds or vouchers.

The joint statement calls on “the European Commission to propose, as a matter of urgency, a temporary amendment to the regulation […] allowing airlines to choose the means of reimbursement for passengers”, considering that such a rule “would provide a solution to the airlines’ current liquidity constraints while preserving the competitiveness of European aviation”.

In its view, it would also involve “harmonised criteria for application at European level”, which would make it possible to draw up “a common and appropriate level of consumer protection”.

“We believe it is possible and acceptable for consumers to regulate the temporary issuing of vouchers if certain fundamental principles are taken into account” such as transparent information, non-discrimination, time limit and flexibility for use and the establishment of the right to a refund at the end of validity in the event of non-use of the vouchers, the statement says.

Last Tuesday, Transport Commissioner Adina Valean warned that although “some Member States are encouraging companies to opt for vouchers as an alternative to reimbursement, this is not compatible with EU rules”.

The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation estimates that the aviation sector in Europe will lose approximately 110 billion euros in 2020 due to the pandemic. Currently, between 3 to 4 thousand flights are being made each day in Europe, most of the freight. 20 to 30 thousand fewer than in the same period last year.

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See how Portugal will reopen economy

Apr 30 2020 Published by under COVID19

Portugal will reopen the economy in three steps after the peak of the pandemic: May 4, 18 and June 1. However, everything still depends on the evolution of the virus.

The Portuguese government will soon present its plan to reopen the economy after the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. The programme will have three steps of the gradual opening of businesses and state entities (May 4, May 18 and June 1). Prime Minister António Costa will present the plan this afternoon.

On May 4 Portugal moves from State of Emergency to State of Calamity. What does this mean? It means that confinement will continue, but some shops will be authorized to open again. A wider opening of shops is expected for May 18.

If the number of new infections do not rise in a way that could jeopardize the capability of the National Health System, June 1 may see the country reach a level of “normal” activity.

This is what we already know about the reopening plan:

Local businesses open on May 4

The first step will see the reopening of local shops that have been closed since March 19 in Portugal. Bookstores, stores up to 200sqm, hairdressers are some of the businesses expected to open. Universities may open, but will not be obliged.

On May 18 restaurants will open

The government will monitor the effects on public health after 15 days of taking the first step. Thus, and if the contagions by Covid-19 do not register a significant leap, on May 18 we could see more business opening doors, such as restaurants and classes for high schoolers. Commercial spaces of up to 400sqm are also expected to open, although municipal councils will have a special prerogative that will give them the power to allow stores with larger areas to open. Cafés, pastries and restaurants too, but with new conditions. The reopening of all these establishments will take place with half the capacity, in order to ensure social distancing.

Large surfaces scheduled for June 1

If the pandemic develops in a controlled way, larger commercial spaces, like shopping malls, will open in the third and final step. Football may return too, but with no spectators in the stadiums. The start of the bathing season should also bring new rules of social distancing at the beach.

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Covid-19: Outcry as a beach in Spain is sprayed with bleach

Apr 30 2020 Published by under COVID19

Authorities in a coastal resort near Cadiz used tractors to spray 2km of beach with a bleach solution, killing most of its wildlife.

Authorities in Zahara de los Atunes have apologised after spraying the coast with bleach in an attempt to protect children from coronavirus. Using tractors, authorities sprayed more than 2km of sand with bleach one day before the Spanish government allowed children out of lockdown.

Environmentalists say the move caused “brutal damage” to the local ecosystem, as several animals, like birds and turtles, breed and nest around this time of the year. María Dolores Iglesias, chief of an environmental group in Cadiz, said that bleach “killed everything on the ground, nothing is seen, not even insects“.

The beach and its dunes are protected for migratory birds, but according to Ms Iglesias, even the tractors destroyed nests and eggs as they sprayed beach on the sand.

“Bleach is used as a very powerful disinfectant, it is logical that it be used to disinfect streets and asphalt, but here the damage has been brutal”.

“They have devastated the dune spaces and gone against all the rules. It has been an aberration what they have done, also taking into account that the virus lives in people not on the beach. It is crazy.”

The head of the environmental group told Spanish media that because of the lockdown, wildlife had been blossoming on the beach. “The beach has its own way of cleaning itself, it was not necessary”. According to EL PAÍS, the Andalusian regional government is now considering fining the local authorities for their action.

Spain has been one of the most affected by the coronavirus, with almost 24 thousand deaths. It recently announced a four-phase plan to lift its tougher lockdown measures and return to a “normality” by the end of June.

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Tourism Board presents ‘Clean & Safe’ Stamp to start tourism recovery

Apr 29 2020 Published by under Lifestyle

Portuguese Tourism Board launched a stamp of approval to distinguish activities which are compliant with hygiene and cleaning requirements for the prevention and control of COVID-19, as a way to reinforce the confidence in the destination’s safety.

The recognition is free and optional and it will be valid for one year. It requires the implementation of an internal protocol for companies that, according to the recommendations of the Directorate-General for Health, guarantee hygiene measures and safe procedures, avoiding risks of contagion in tourist activities.

The ‘Clean & Safe’ stamp can be obtained online at the Turismo de Portugal platforms and will always be associated with the company’s registration number.

After companies have submitted the Declaration of Commitment, they can publicise the “Clean & Safe” stamp, either physically on their premises or in their digital platforms. Turismo de Portugal, in coordination with the safety and hygiene authorities, will carry out random audits to adhering establishments.

With this measure, the Portuguese Tourism Board intends to inform companies on the minimum hygiene requirements and cleaning measures to ensure the safety of various establishments. Simultaneously, they will promote Portugal as a safe destination after the pandemic, with measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

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#ReadPortugal: watch the new Tourism campaign

Apr 29 2020 Published by under Lifestyle

It’s time to travel without leaving home. It’s time to wait, with the whole world, for the next chapter. Check the new video of Visit Portugal #ReadPortugal.

We are told that these are times of confinement, that we should stay at home. But this may also be a time to free your imagination and let our thoughts fly. In other words, it is the best time to catch up on reading!

The new VisitPortugal campaign promotes authors from Portugal, inviting everyone to discover the novels and poems of some of the most celebrated writers, such as Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago and Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen.

Look for these authors at your online bookstore. You can still buy books in Portugal online and they will be delivered in a day or two to your address. Wook , Almedina and Fnac online platforms sell books in English, French, German, Swedish and Dutch.

Discover the universality of Portuguese Literature!

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#AlgarvePostSupportsYou live with expert PR and reputation manager Maciej Parol!

Apr 28 2020 Published by under COVID19

Continuing our series of expert interviews, Algarve Post’s Krzysztof Bulski hosted another interview on April 22nd, this time with Maciej Parol – an expert PR and reputation manager with experience in fact-checking & disinformation, working as Brand Manager for the Jupiter 19 online protection platform. In the interview, Mr Parol talked about disinformation and the fake news in the wake of COVID-19 crisis, as well as ways in which we can protect ourselves – and what new threats to watch out for.

It can be safely said that while our real world has been infected with a pandemic, the online world has been suffering its own form of epidemic – an infodemic, as news sites and social media profiles are being flooded with inaccurate, exaggerated or false information. Noting that much of this misinformation was initially benign in origin as jokes, Mr. Parol explains that much like a real virus, they would go on to mutate into genuine conspiracy theories and “news” that would be treated entirely seriously by new audiences, sometimes even gaining official recognition that enhanced their reach. Mr. Parol also noted a geometric rise in numbers of the fake content, making it difficult to identify true and reliable information.

With the flood of such content, Mr. Parol stressed that we always verify what we hear, especially if it comes at us from social media, and especially if we think about reposting it ourselves. To that end, Mr. Parol outlined several simple but concrete steps anyone can take using a search engine, as well as equally stressed the importance of verifying the source of this information, and to double-check it against a wide array of sources, from reputable media to governmental & international institutions.

In the interview, Mr. Parol also touched upon what media can do on their own to likewise help in the fight against fake news & disinformation, particularly stressing the relationship between the media and its audience. Mr. Parol also elaborated upon the so-called “disinformation industry” – why certain governments and organizations sponsor creation, how they do so and what they hope to achieve by doing so; as well as potential future avenues through which we can face the threat of fake news.

But don’t take our word for it! Verify the interview yourself, at:

#AlgarvePostSupportsYou

Fake news and disinformation in times of COVID-19Live stream with Maciej Parol, Brand Manager at Jupiter 19hosted by Krzysztof Bulski, Algarve Post

Opublikowany przez The Algarve Post Środa, 22 kwietnia 2020

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Tavira Library new online platform allows you to borrow or return books

Apr 27 2020 Published by under Lifestyle

As a way to remain close to their visitors, libraries in Tavira have developed a platform with their catalogue and news updates. From here you can schedule to borrow or return a book. Come check it out!

So, you want to read a book that you know it is in the library, or you would like to know if your town’s library has it, but you don’t know how? Tavira Council has solved that quarantine problem with this useful website.

http://bibliotecas.cm-tavira.pt/ allows you to visit the catalogue of all the libraries in Tavira. From here you can renew borrowings, return books or check availability of the catalogue. You only have to register as a reader if you have not done it in the past.

There are plenty of books in several languages. In case you want to return or borrow a book, you will have to schedule before. You can send an email to biblioteca@cm-tavira.pt or call 281320585, from Monday to Friday, between 10am and 1pm.

Whether you are a student, reader or regular visitor, come check it out!

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#stayhome: Government forbids leaving council of residence between 1st and 3rd May

Apr 27 2020 Published by under COVID19

The Portuguese Government will adopt the travel restrictions applied during Easter for the weekend of the 1st of May. Citizens will not be allowed to leave their municipalities unless they have very specific reasons.

Prime Minister António Costa announced last week that between the 1st and 3rd of May it will be forbidden to travel between municipalities. “For this weekend, the Government will enact a ban on travel between municipalities, just as it happened during the Easter period,” said Mr Costa.

Last month, during Easter, the Government decided that between Thursday, April 9 and Monday April 13, public trips were only allowed within the municipalities of permanent residence.

In regard of the coming celebration of Labour Day, this Friday, Mr Costa said that “it will be a different 1st of May for unions than we’ve seen in the past”.

In Portugal, the commemoration of Labour Day on the first day of May was severely repressed during the right-wing dictatorship of Oliveira Salazar. Since the Revolution on 25 April 1974, Dia do Trabalhador (worker’s day) is usually celebrated by unions and by several political parties with parades and demonstrations.

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No place for a garden? No problem, make the most of your balcony

Apr 27 2020 Published by under Lifestyle

If your home is lucky enough to have a balcony, even a smaller one, why not create your personal urban oasis then?

The good news is that you don’t need a yard to create a luscious garden. If you decorate it in the right way, your balcony can arouse admiration for your neighbours as well.

A planet-friendly balcony not only makes your outdoor-apartment cooler but it also promotes your personal satisfaction and mental wellbeing. As such, research says the more we are close to natural environments the better we feel.

If you don’t know where to start, hang in there, here are some essential tips to turn your lifeless balcony into a flourishing spot.

Choosing the right plants for your site is the n. 1 choice. Don’t waste space on something that is not going to thrive. The amount of sunlight is the most critical question, for example, most veggies need a minimum of 6-8 hours of daily sunlight.

Nevertheless, greens like chard, spinach, or lettuce can grow with less than 6 hours of sun. Weather conditions are essential as well, luckily, the Algarve region has a Mediterranea climate which encourages a stronger growing process. Herbs like mint, basil and parsley need fewer light too and they can add a 100% natural flavor to your recipes!

What we can plant in this period? We suggest 3 amazing culinary-herbs for your next dishes, let’s have some practical guidelines!

Basil is a warm-weather plant you can consider. By planting it, you may be able to have homemade pesto! Here’s how-to:

Mint not only grows in warmer conditions but also faster than other plants! Here’s the how-to:

Parsley grows from spring to winters, it’s a great choice to plant it now and enjoy its perfume and nutrients. Here’s the how-to:

After the light-check, it’s time to set up your plants in the right place. Remember to take care of them as they were your family. Be gentle and give them a good drink but without over-watering them.

As you are ready to become an urban gardener, it’s time to rethink how to re-organize your balcony. In order to enjoy your little oasis you may add some extra-furniture. A small table with a couple of chairs can cuddle your mornings with coffee and croissants outdoors.

Consider how you want to use the space around your garden. If you are lacking ideas, have a look at this video and let your creativity run wild.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57KmTT-IWpM

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Is it safe to order delivery food during Coronavirus?

Apr 24 2020 Published by under COVID19

Since the coronavirus outbreak, governments forced us to stay inside and minimize human contacts. While we are stuck at home, lazy cooks are typing and wondering: Is it safe to eat takeout food? Am I safe if I order food from restaurants? 

The answer is yes, eating takeout food is still a good idea (for the moment). Due to these fearful times, many of us want to know safety information about that. Let’s get you some before you’re forced to watch Netflix with a can of sad beans. 

Are food-couriers protected from Covid-19?

Despite online orders can be our lifeline in those hard times, someone else has to step into the breach for us. Delivery workers are experiencing a unique challenge in travelling between restaurants and people’s houses. However, the risk can increase due to the daily interactions they have with people, especially those resulting positive for the coronavirus.

Luckily, in the wake of the pandemic period, delivery companies and apps took essential actions to protect their heroes-employees. As an example, Uber Eats and Just Eat, which are being bought by Takeaway.com, provides financial assistance to drivers and delivery people who may be infected or exposed to the virus for up to 14 days.

On March 18th Deliveroo followed the same path. Due to restriction measures, it asked all restaurant partners to introduce contact-free pick up with Deliveroo riders. Basically couriers will respect your choice to not be in direct contact with them if you require though.

Which are the Food Delivery platforms working during Coronavirus?

If you are concerned whether food apps are still working or not, hang in there. Here are some platforms currently operating in the Algarve region, some of them are offering special discounts you can’t miss:

  • UberEats delivers in Faro, Olhão, Loulé, Quarteira, Portimão, Lagos, and Albufeira and you can get €5 off for your first order with the code eats-jamesc64889ui. 
  • Glovo allows you to order from restaurants, florists, pharmacies, wine shops, and Ikea. Besides it mainly operates in biggest cities they offer €8 free credit with the code 1715VDE via this link.
  • Comidas.pt covers Faro and cities nearby. There is such a lot of choice, from Portuguese to Indian food.
  • Gato Gordo includes a variety of food choices as well and it delivers specialities from your beloved Algarve restaurants to your home.
  • In for a sushi night? Sushi & Go sends its products especially in the city of Portimão (Algarve)
  • If you live in Tavira, Easy Eat delights your quarantine by bringing your favourite food without moving from home. You just need to choose, they will take care of the rest!

How to minimize the risks?

Despite ordering food looks could make your anxiety worse, we take a load off our mind with some truthful news.
Well, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, there is little evidence to support the coronavirus transmission through food or food packaging.

Whenever you order take-out or groceries online, you may see an empty field titled “delivery instructions.” Accordingly, you can write there to drop off food at the door or send a photo of where the food should be left.

When it comes to cooked foods, we might fear to take the virus from the chef cooking our meal. Luckily, an epidemiologist from Columbia University, Stephen Morse, granted that “cooked foods are unlikely to be contaminated, even if the person preparing it is sick.” As long as the food is handled properly, he said, “there should be very little risk.”

However, if you order cold food, like a salad, this might carry some risks if the chef sneezed on it. If still worried, it’s time to familiarize with the Algarve Health Administration and the Portugese Food and Economy Security website. Check how they are managing food-handling practices of your favourite restaurants nearby!

Food containers: myths to dispel

When it comes to food containers you’re probably thinking: what if an infected delivery person coughs or sneezes on your food containers?

Chrysan Cronin, american professor of Public Health at Muhlenberg College, suggests that contamination happens if you touch these droplets with your hands and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.

To play it safe, washing your hands properly straight after touching the packaging will avoid any risk of COVID-infection.

 The World Health Organization released 5 key principles of food hygiene during quarantine:

  1. Keep your hands, kitchen and utensils clean
  2. Separate raw and cooked food, especially raw meat and fresh produce
  3. Cook your food thoroughly
  4. Keep your food at safe temperatures, either below 5 °C or above 60 °C; and
  5. Use safe water and raw material.

Well, you should always wash your hands before you eat, but it’s especially important now.

What about hot vs cold food? There is no proof that choosing hot takeout or delivery foods over cold ones will reduce your risk of getting COVID-19. That’s why it’s highly recommended to make sure your restaurant is following the required safety guidelines.

When you’re heating your meal you may happily think if you are killing the virus underneath.

Unfortunately, the professor Cronin confirms no existing evidence for that. Despite studies on previous virus like SARS proved to be destroyed at 149 degrees for 3 minutes, the Coronavirus has yielded no similar results.

To conclude, the riskiest part of takeout or delivery food regards the person-to-person contact. In the light of this, despite it might look impolite, make sure to keep your six-feet distance from  your delivery person.

If you are craving pizza or sushi, don’t be so scared. Go right ahead, grab your food but don’t forget to wash your hands!

Sources:

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