OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES DURING THE PANDEMIC
98 days without tours. A couple more days and this could be the title of a film. Unfortunately, reality decided to play science fiction and this was no popcorn movie. As guides, outdoor activities are our way of life. In a sense, we are nomads in our own cities, not staying much in the same places, wandering around from sunrise to sunset. We guides are a mix of a young gipsy soul and an ancient storyteller.
2.352 hours without tours. No bookings today, same as yesterday. The house feels too small. The air is not fresh enough. I could swear I heard my blue umbrella crying. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the best guide of them all? The floor on the corridor is showing signs of weariness. Nothing wrong with me waving at people from the balcony. “Hi, want to do a free walking tour?” Neighbors glance at me sideways. Wait; was that Fernando Pessoa in the street just now? Did I say outdoor activities are our way of life?
21st of June 2020. I’m walking on sunshine. Summer in the city. Don’t look back in anger. Lisbon free walking tours are back. Porto free walking tours are back. Guimarães and Braga back soon. Yep, I’m still humming and walking on sunshine.
But what does back mean? How did this virus affect our tours? Are there any new precautions for outdoor activities? What are the COVID-19 measures in Portugal for walking tours? Are there any differences, let’s say, between a Lisbon Free Walking Tour and a Porto Free Walking Tour?
Clean & Safe Company: That’s Us
First and foremost, Take is a Clean & Safe company. We have set up a package of measures in all our outdoor activities to preserve the safety of tourists and walking tour guides. This set of rules complies with the guidelines of the Clean & Safe label in particular and the guidelines of the General Health Directorate in general.
Take assures participants in its activities that all our walking tours by foot have a maximum of 19 people registered (minors included) and 1 guide. We also ensure that all guides who collaborate with us and other partners respect the safety recommendations concerning COVID-19. Lisbon is an exception to this but we will get to that.
Take also has someone in charge to which any symptoms that could be related to a possible case of COVID-19 should be reported: Tatiana Fernandes +351 96 755 82 10. For any doubt related to the norms and guidelines in Portugal, you may contact the number of the General Health Directorate 808 24 24 or read carefully the information provided here.
Our guides for free walking tours and private tours check their temperature and any symptoms such as coughing or difficulty breathing before and after any activity. The company will be notified as soon as possible if there are any indications that the guide has symptoms associated with COVID-19 so that appropriate measures can be implemented.
Before the tour begins, when welcoming participants, our walking tour guides must wear a mask or a visor. This is also mandatory at the end of the tour and when entering enclosed spaces. Since we are running outdoor activities, masks are not compulsory as long as social distancing is respected.
Our walking tour guides always respect the recommended safety distance for outdoor spaces of 1.5 meters and will make sure, to the best of their abilities, that participants who do not travel together do so as well. They also have an alcohol-based hand rub gel provided by the company and will wash their hands frequently according to the indications of the Directorate General of Health.
Our guides will limit close contact with participants to what is strictly essential. Guides should, as far as possible, avoid very crowded outdoor or indoor areas. Where possible, any physical material such as leaflets will be provided in digital format. Group photographs may only be taken if social distance measurements are respected.
We strongly encourage all participants in our free walking tours and private visits to present digital and non-physical proof of registration. When registering at meeting points, participants must provide personal data (name, phone number and email) for contact tracking purposes.
We strongly advise participants to wear facial masks even during outdoor activities. In any enclosed space, the use of a mask is mandatory. We also strongly suggest that you disinfect your hands regularly.
As the standards may vary from country to country, we recommend that you always follow the instructions of our local guide, which will be specifically trained by the company on the prevention measures protocol to COVID-19.
Why is Lisbon different from the North?
Most of the national cases reported took place in the metropolitan area of Lisbon and the Government has decided to cut group concentrations to a maximum of 10 people and not 20. This rule is to be revised on July the 14th and until then we will respect this limit in all our outdoor activities. This is why our group limit is 9 for our Lisbon free walking tours and 19 for our Porto free walking tours.