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30 Beaches Recognised by Quercus

Environmental Association, Quercus, has awarded 30 beaches in the Autonomous Region of Madeira with their 2021 ‘Gold Quality’ award; seven more than last year.

According to their 2021 criteria, Quercus, Gold Quality Beaches, have to reach certain goals, including “excellent” water quality in the last five bathing seasons (from 2016 to 2020), and be free from ‘beach failures, such as bathing warnings, or permanent or temporary closure during the 2020 season. Furthermore, all beach analyses must exceed the 95th percentile in Annex I of the Bathing Water Directive.  This means that all coastal and transitional water analyses should have values ​​below 100ufc / 100ml (colony forming unit / milliliter) for intestinal enterococci and less than 250ufc / 100ml for Escherichia coli; and for inland waters, 200ufc / 100ml and 500ufc / 100ml, respectively.

According to an ordinance published on the 14th of May, in Diário da República, this year’s bathing season started on the 15th of May and ends on the 15th of October, however, most municipalities throughout Portugal have decided to start the summer bathing season from the 12th of June.

Quercus stressed the need for bathers to comply with the health rules laid out by the Directorate-General for Health when visiting bathing areas.  Similar to last year, the Government of the Republic, published a directive on the 19th of May, regulating access, occupation and use of beaches with the aim of preventing, containing and reducing the transmission of the SARS – CoV -2 virus, as well as defining health and safety parameters for outdoor swimming pools.

Furthermore, a new rule allows fines ranging from €50 – €1,000 to be issued to all those who refuse to comply with the mandatory health and safety rules which include;  the use of a mask when accessing the beach, restaurants or sanitary facilities, the practice of non-individual sports, the non-compliance with social distancing rules between people and groups, and failing to use designated access and circulation areas correctly.

Samantha Gannon

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