COVID-19 Update

Update for July 7, 2020

Visitors are now welcome in the Azores and the Canary Islands. Hotels and restaurants are open at about 50% capacity with full openings expected by the end of the month. 90% of tour options have re-started at about half capacity, with the rest expecting to be open by the end of the month.

For US Citizens, unfortunately the EU Travel Ban has limited travel options through at least July 15th, and likely through the end of the month, as Covid-19 cases are increasing in the US and that is the main criteria with which they created and decided on the ban.

We are recommending all guests booked through the end of July look to reschedule for a later date and will be in contact with you directly. We will re-evaluate later travel dates in the middle of July after the EU Travel Ban takes another look at their restrictions.

As for safety in the destinations, the Azores is considered Covid-free. For that reason they are requesting that arriving passengers get tested and show a negative result within 72-hours of their departure. This measure is expected to stay in place for a while. There is also infrared temperature scanning in the arrivals terminal in the Azores.

Mainland Portugal is 6th in Europe for the most tests administered. By July 1 they had tested about 10% of the population. The peak for cases in Portugal was mid-April and they are continuing to see a decline in reported cases daily.

In the Canary Islands, there have been just under 3,000 cases out of a total population of almost 1 million. Over 70% are considered recovered and there are less than 100 cases still hospitalized.

 

Update for June 17, 2020

Portugal has re-opened its borders to EU citizens and on July 1st will begin welcoming North American visitors. There is no mandatory quarantine for mainland Portugal. TAP Air Portugal has committed to 20% of their flights resuming from North America in July and double that frequency in August.

In the Azores, the 14-day mandatory quarantine has been lifted. Currently arriving passengers in the Azores will have two choices:

1. Show proof of a negative test result, with a test administered within 72-hours of departure.

2. Get tested upon arrival and quarantine at your booked accommodation until you receive the results, which are guaranteed within 12-hours.

The Azores recently received the distinction as "Coronavirus Safest Destination" from the European Best Destinations Organization, based on health security measures in the tourism sector and its related activities, the low number of cases and security in the local health service.

The Portuguese government has come out with a "Clean & Safe" seal of approval with guidelines that tourism organizations must adhere to. To read more about what Portugal is doing to keep you safe, visit: https://www.visitportugal.com/en/node/421175

Spain will be re-opening its borders to tourists starting July 1. On June 15th Spain entered phase 3 out of 4 of the government's lockdown opening plan.

The Canary Islands have reported only 2,800 total Covid-19 cases on 6 out of their 7 islands. This is a very small number with relation to their 2.1 million total population.

 

 

Update for June 3, 2020:

As Portugal and the Azores enter Phase 3 of their reopening strategy this week, we are seeing more business start to open and the country getting ready to welcome tourism from the EU on June 15th and from North America on July 1. (Information about Phase 3)

As of today, museums and other cultural amenities, such as monuments, art galleries, palaces and churches are allowed to re-open, as are restaurants, cafés, patisseries, terraces and promenades.

Per the health and safety measures imposed in Portugal by the Department of Health it is important that the obligatory use of masks, the continuation of six-foot social distancing and frequent disinfection of hands by employees, visitors, customers and of surfaces and spaces with imposed capacity limitations stay in place.

Here are a few helpful references from the Portuguese Tourism Board about what is going on and what to expect.

Portugal Guidelines and restrictions due to Covid-19

General FAQ about Covid-19 in Portugal

 

Update for May 22, 2020:

Portugal and the Azores have entered Phase 2 of their reopening strategy and are on track to welcome guests back to their country in the second half of June. Museums and other cultural amenities, such as monuments, art galleries, palaces and churches are allowed to re-open, as are restaurants, cafés, patisseries, terraces and promenades.

The health and safety measures imposed in Portugal by the Department of Health will remain, such as the obligatory use of masks, the continuation of six-foot social distancing and frequent disinfection of hands by employees, visitors, customers and of surfaces and spaces with imposed capacity limitations.

We are expecting to see beaches re-opening June 6th and other business allowed to resume services at that time as well.

 

Update for May 14, 2020:

TAP Air Portugal announced they would be resuming flights June 15, 2020 and Azores Airlines will resume flights June 30, 2020. Hotels are allowed to begin reopening June 12 and they hope to have their full schedule running by mid-July.

The Azores have reported 145 cases total over 6 of their 9 islands. Almost all patients have recovered and they are currently reporting 25 active cases that are still being treated. 

Airports in Portugal and other locations in Europe will be implementing a body temperature measurement system, using infrared cameras. This has already been started at Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Madeira and Ponta Delgada airports. If the cameras detect a high body temperature, the specific passenger will be referred to a team of health technicians in a quarantined area to perform a screening. For more information visit their website: https://www.ana.pt/en/corporate/ana/security-measures

We are still working very closely with our vendors and colleagues on the ground in the Atlantic Islands to postpone trips and accommodate our clients as best as possible. We are also able to move the dates on any Travel Insurance policy that have been purchased through us.

In the meantime, while we wait to travel again, please watch this short video about taking a pause in our travel presented by Visit Azores.

 

Update for April 21, 2020:

This week Azores Airlines announced the suspension of all flights through June 14, 2020. We are in the process of personally reaching out to all our clients that had trips booked to the Azores during this time. 

Azores Airlines are allowing for changes with no fees if clients affected by these cancellations would like to postpone travel anytime before 12/30/20. They are also now issuing travel vouchers valid for 1-year from date of issue of the voucher. You can find a link to their Voucher Page here.

We are still working very closely with our vendors and colleagues on the ground in the Atlantic Islands to postpone trips and accommodate our clients as best as possible. We are also able to move the dates on any Travel Insurance policy that have been purchased through us.

 

Update for April 10, 2020:

This week we are beginning to move all trips with a start day before May 10, 2020. All of our land and air vendors are being very flexible with moving all payments to future dates in 2020. We feel this is the best course of action after Trump extended federal social distancing guidelines to the end of April.

We are pleased to know that vendors and travel companies are looking ahead and do believe that people will be traveling again soon. Check out this message from the CEO of Tripadvisor.

 

Update for March 30, 2020:

We are working behind the scenes with our land and air partners to cancel services and re-book all our trips for the month of April with the most flexible terms possible.

It has not yet been determined if trips operating after May 1st, will be able to travel. We will continue to be in touch with colleagues on the ground in each destination and our travel partners, as well as monitor the situation as deemed safe by the State Department, W.H.O., and CDC.

While we are not here to tell anyone if they should travel or not, our top priority is the safety of each individual who wishes to take a trip. We are allowing all passengers to postpone their trip date to anytime in 2020, only having to pay the difference in fare if the travel services booked increases based on the change of season.

Each booking is being looked at on an individual basis and our team is carefully reviewing each situation. We are maintaining our regular operating hours, and just ask that you are patient, and leave a message when calling in if we are unable to answer your call right away.

We hope that you feel confident in booking and traveling with us.

 

Update as for March 23, 2020:

At the end of last week,  the U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 warning for all international travel and advised all U.S. citizens to avoid non-essential travel.  

The EU also took similar steps and is not allowing foreign nationals into the EU for 30 days.

We are working with our vendors and client to postpone trips deemed 'not advisable' at this time, which includes all travel through April 30.

If you are traveling during that time and have not heard from your Trip Specialist, please give us a call. We are operating normal business hours this week.

If you are traveling after May 1st, our hotel and airfare partners in Portugal have asked that we wait to postpone your trip until we know more about this mandatory quarantine and the policies of the State Department, the World Health Organization and the CDC.

 

 

Update as of March 16, 2020:

With the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak having significant impact on travel globally, we are trying to keep our clients updated as to what their options are.

Countries around the world are closing their boarders in an attempt to mitigate the spread and help make travel in the future safe.

We are working with our vendors and client to postpone any trips deemed 'not advisable' at this time.

Over the weekend, the Portuguese government instituted a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all foreign nationals arriving into the Azores and Madeira. While, as of today, there are no cases of Covid-19 in the Azores or Madeira, this step has been taken in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. Accordingly, we have been asked to postpone all trips departing through April 15th. We are working closely with our hotel, tour, and airline partners to make this transition as smooth as possible.

If you are traveling between now and the end of March, you will be contacted first. 

After that, we will start processing reservations through April 15th

If you are departing between April 16th and April 30th, you will also have the option to postpone. However, we ask that you please remain patient with us while we work on trips with earlier departure dates.

If you are traveling after May 1st, our hotel and airfare partners in Portugal have asked that we wait to postpone your trip until we know more about this mandatory quarantine and the policies of the World Health Organization and the CDC.

Thank you again for your patience and we will continue to be in touch.

 

TripAdvisor's resource page

 

 

Update as of March 12, 2020:

We understand there is concern about containing the spread of COVID-19. With the announcement of the 30-day travel ban with Europe, it has caused some confusion and uncertainty.  

To clarify, U.S. citizens traveling in Europe will be exempt at this time. We are working with our vendors and monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily and will continue to keep our clients updated of any changes. 

We are sharing links below to the official proclamation and related fact sheet for further details.

President Donald J. Trump Has Taken Unprecedented Steps To Respond To The Coronavirus And Protect The Health And Safety Of Americans.

Proclamation - Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmiting 2019 Novel Coronavirus - March 11, 2020


We will continue to share facts and communicate with you as we receive more information.

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