Both Madeira and the Azores have autonomous governments, and as they have both had very low COVID-19 rates, they are keen to keep it that way.
The rules once inside of Madeira are pretty similar to the rest of Portugal. However…
On August 1st Madeira announced that masks would become mandatory at all times in Public!
The info on this is on the tourism board website (use Chrome to auto-translate to English) – you must wear them when in the mountains, in parks, and when walking in public streets. They can be removed when sunbathing/swimming at the beach. Personally, I think this is a bit extreme and I have cancelled my planned trip as I don’t want to hike with a mask – that said, I don’t know who would even be enforcing this hiking in the mountains so it all seems a strange idea to have these rules the rest of the country doesn’t have.
Anyway, if you do decide to visit…
They have produced a really detailed PDF, available in English, which highlights everything – from what happens on arrival, to what happens at all kinds of establishments in the two inhabited islands that make up the Madeira archipelago (when travelling between Madeira and Porto Santo, there is no testing or limits).
Here are the brief key points of what to expect on arrival, and the requirements:
- It’s recommended to do a test 72-hours prior to travel, and receive a negative result. Although this can be done on arrival instead.
- There is a contact tracing app now in Madeira, called ‘MADEIRA SAFE TO DISCOVER’ – travellers should upload health documents to this app prior to arrival, or via the website.
- On arrival, thermal screening takes place, and those who have already completed the test prior to travel will have expedited processing through the airport to leave
- For those needing a test, a free test will be provided at the airport. It will take about 12 hours before they ring you with the results, during this time you must stay in isolation at your accommodation. If the test is negative, enjoy your holiday, and keep the app on your device, otherwise you may be check in on by telephone.
- If your test is positive, you and your group will be placed in confinement at a hotel as designated by the health service. The local government will cover your costs (this was the case initially but I’m sure this will change due to costs, so please do check with them before travelling if it will still be the case on your dates) for any medical expenses, accommodation and meals. A week later, the group will be given a second test, and if negative you can begin your holiday. A positive result means further confinement (it isn’t detailed who covers the cost then)
- There looks to also be an option to repatriate back to your own country, if the airline will carry you. This cost is on you, or your travel insurance (if they cover COVID-19 related matters)
I highly recommend you refer to this PDF for all those details (in English).
I’ve just come back from two weeks in The Azores (Pico, Sao Jorge, Faial) and it was lovely. The testing and management of the situation are great there, so you feel like you can kinda forget this strange world for a bit.
The Azores have produced a word document with the current situation on, which can be read here in English.
Here are the brief key points of what to expect on arrival at any of the airports, Santa Maria, Terceira, Pico and Faial (from outside, not between – you can move between the islands once you receive your negative test results, however may need a second test, see below), and the requirements:
- Provide health form information on arrival, based on three options:
- If you have proof of negative test within 72-hours before flying, you are clear to enter the country with the lab report and continue your holiday. If you are staying longer than 7 days in the Azores, you can enjoy your holiday with the negative result, however you will have to complete another test, on the 6th day AFTER your initial test, and have another negative result. You will be provided with details of the local county health services to arrange this with.
- If you haven’t had a test before flying, you can have the test at the airport. You will then stay in isolation at your accommodation until you get the results. When you have the negative result, you can start your holiday. The same applies though, if staying longer than 7 days, you will also need to take another test 6 days later.
- If you test positive, you will have to quarantine until you receive a negative result on another test.
- If you refuse the test, your other options are to stay in isolation until you get the next flight available out of the islands, or take a 14-day quarantine in a dedicated isolation hotel, with the full cost being on you.
You pay for your 14-day quarantine if found positive, but both the test on arrival and the second test if needed will be free.
Bars on the island of São Miguel currently must close by 10pm.
Clean and Safe Portugal Initiative
Portugal introduced its own ‘Clean and Safe’ protocols very early on in the game, which also meant they were the first country to receive the ‘Safe Travel’ stamp by the World Tourism Council.
The Clean and Safe stamp and coronavirus protection rules in Portugal are covered in-depth on the Visit Portugal website which lists all the requirements for different types of business, and you’ll see the stamp on a lot of businesses booking pages.
The stamp basically is given to any business that is meeting those defined health and safety requirements and COVID-19 precautions as defined by the Portuguese health authorities.
While there is a criteria to meet, and online training, especially focused on cleaning and hygiene to follow, businesses certify and then have inspections, randomly, afterwards to ensure the standard is met.
A website, dedicated to Clean and Safe has now been launched at https://portugalcleanandsafe.com/ where you, as a visitor, can search for a business, check they have the stamp and see the measures they have put in place.
Most importantly you as the visitor can leave a rating on if the business met the criteria for clean and safe. This helps to keep businesses accountable to their stamp, as poor ratings will see them removed, or re-inspected.
There looks like an option to search a map, and see local businesses who have the stamp is in testing right now too.
Portugal Health passport and dedicated COVID Portugal Insurance
Portugal has launched two products this year, specifically for visitors and providing coverage in relation to health and COVID-19.
The first is the Portugese Health Passport – you can read the details here but there are various packages of healthcare options available for you while here, in private hospitals and I believe this was actually developed for general health tourism not just COVID-19, but has become more well known due to the current situation.
There is also a dedicated Portugal Travel Insurance which includes COVID-19, which you can see more about here and might be worth considering if you don’t have any Coronavirus cover with your usual insurer – I haven’t looked into it much, so please do review if it’s suitable for your needs before purchasing it.