Travel agent Kay Byrne Clueit of Palm Trees Travel in the West Midlands was among the passengers on one of the first flights to Portugal since the travel restrictions lifted on Monday. Here she describes what it’s like.
What was the journey like?
Three other flights landed in Faro at the same time, so we were in a big queue of non-EU passengers, but it took only 20 minutes from getting off the plane to get through all the checks.
Our PCR tests were checked, and our entry forms, and our passports were stamped – just like the old days!
Do you have to wear a mask?
All the waiters at the Dom Pedro Vilamoura resort where we are staying wear masks all the time, and we have to to enter the hotel dining room and whilst walking around, but you can take them off while you’re at your seat.
In the harbour in the evening, not many wore masks whilst walking around but you need them to enter a restaurant. It seems a bit like the UK, some people are wearing masks walking around, but most aren’t*.
A bar owner told us they’re more relaxed now on masks outside, but maybe if it gets busier and more crowded they might introduce them again. But it’s all quite chilled.
It’s much better than Tenerife at Christmas, when we had to wear masks outside.
Are there many other tourists around?
The hotel is quite quiet, but the marina is getting fuller. One waiter told us they were a little unprepared because they didn’t think anyone from the UK would come! It’s definitely getting busier around the marina.
Does the hotel still have a buffet?
Breakfast is still buffet style, but it’s all served behind glass. Apart from that, it’s the same as usual.
What’s it like on the beach, are you able to socially distance?
As you can see from these photos taken on Wednesday afternoon, the beach is quiet.
How will you get a COVID test before you return to England?
I’ve been told that the hotel can arrange an antigen test for two days before we fly back, but I also have been told there is one at Faro airport. And I’ve pre-ordered a postal one for the required day two test after we get back.
Would you recommend clients travel to Portugal now?
The weather is perfect and last night we had dinner overlooking the marina – two starters, two mains and a bottle of wine for €35 euros and with 1.15 to the pound who wouldn’t want to come?!
*Portugal’s official line on mask wearing is: “You must wear a mask while walking along promenades and in restaurants and cafés until you are seated. At the beach, follow the one-way entry and exit signs and use a mask until you reach your spot on the sand. Use a mask and footwear while using sanitary facilities.”