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Decree Law No. 35-A/2021

Publication: Republic Diary No. 96/2021, Series I of 2021-05-18
  • Issuer: Presidency of the Council of Ministers
  • Diploma Type: Decree Law
  • Number: 35-A/2021
  • Pages: 40-(2) a 40-(12)

Summary in plain english

What is it?

This decree-law creates the exceptional and temporary scheme applicable to the occupation and use of beaches, in the context of the COVID-19 disease pandemic, for the 2021 bathing season.

This decree-law is applicable, with the necessary adaptations, to the operation of open-air swimming pools.

Given the public health emergency of international scope, declared by the World Health Organization on 30 January 2020, as well as the classification, on 11 March 2020, of the COVID-19 disease as a pandemic, the Government has been approving a set of extraordinary and urgent measures in several matters.

What is going to change?

This decree-law defines the following concepts:

Concession area: the area defined in the titles of use of hydric resources issued;

Large beaches: those with a potential capacity of over 500 users;

Small beaches: those with a potential capacity of up to 500 users.

The following rules should be followed on the beach:

Comply with the standards and guidelines issued by the Directorate-General for Health (DGS);

Maintain physical safety distance between users when accessing and using the beach and bathing in the sea or river;

Wash hands frequently;

Wear a mask until you reach the beach;

Avoid access to identified areas with high or full occupancy.

The concessionary entities are subject to the following duties:

Comply with the determinations and guidelines of the health authorities with regard to the hygiene and cleaning of equipment and facilities;

Contract the necessary means to ensure compliance with the rules;

Display, in a visible manner, the information provided for in this decree-law;

Ensure close coordination with the competent authorities, namely the Portuguese Environment Agency, the National Maritime Authority and the local authorities.

It is forbidden to park outside the designated or identified parks and parking areas, as well as to stay overnight and park motor caravans or similar vehicles in the parks and parking areas.

The concessionary entities must inform of the state of occupancy at the access to beaches, using the following coloured signs:

Green: low occupancy, which corresponds to a usage of up to 50%;

Yellow: high occupancy, which corresponds to a usage above 50% and up to 90%;

Red: full occupancy, which corresponds to a usage above 90%.

On beaches which are not suitable for bathing, signposting and information on the state of occupancy of the beach should be provided by the local authorities whenever possible.

Directions of movement should be defined for access to the beach, and the use of mask in walkways, footbridges, sea walls and marginal areas is mandatory and the physical safety distance between each user should be one and a half metres.

First aid posts should have thermometers and an area for the isolation of suspected cases of the COVID-19 disease.

The use of the beach or area defined for bathing outside the concession area must follow the rules of hygiene and safety defined by the DGS, maintaining a physical safety distance of one and a half metres between each user, and three metres between sunshades belonging to different groups.

The provision of equipment for collective use, such as pedalos, slides and indoor showers is allowed, but the usable area of the area intended for bathing must not be compromised and the DGS guidelines on hygiene and use must be followed.

When the occupancy of the beach is high or full (i.e. above 50% of the usable area), the practice of sports with two or more people is not allowed in the area defined for bathing, except in the case of surf lessons or similar and provided that the maximum capacity of five participants and one instructor and the physical safety distance of one and a half meters between each participant are respected, both on land and at sea.

It is allowed to sell on the beaches as long as the hygiene and safety rules and guidelines defined by the health authorities are respected.

A scheme of administrative offences is established foreseeing the application of fines in case of non-compliance.

What advantages does it bring?

This decree-law aims to prevent, contain and slow down the transmission of the COVID-19 disease, by defining the rules applicable to beaches qualified as bathing beaches, inserted in bathing waters, as these beaches have a higher concentration of users, commercialisation of goods and services and also a higher number of spaces and equipment, which can result in an increased risk of contagion.

When does it enter into force?

This decree-law enters into force on the day following its publication.

Original Version


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Legislative consolidation integrates the various amendments and rectifications made into an original legal diploma in order to make its consultation more accessible to the citizen.