„Clean & Safe Açores” – good practices in the Azores

with Brak komentarzy

„Clean & Safe” is a mark introduced by Turismo de Portugal. It confirms – literally – the cleanliness and safety of tourism companies in Portugal.

As you may have noticed, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t have mercy for Portugal. The Portuguese, despite the difficult situation, want to show that they care about tourists and their safety. Accordingly, the Portuguese Department of Tourism (Turismo de Portugal) introduced the „Clean & Safe” certificate.

Any tourism-related companies (restaurants, hotels, tourism animators, etc.) can receive appropriate training and obtain such a certificate. For you, this certificate is a clear message that a given company complies with the principles of safety and hygiene. (Procedures for the Portuguese certificate were prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the Portuguese General Directorate for Health).

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The Azores have also introduced their own certificate – „Clean & Safe Açores”

The „Clean & Safe Açores” stamp aims to show you that the Azores are a safe destination. That local companies have adapted to Covid reality and care about your well-being. The guidelines in the Azores are different from those on the mainland, as the Azorean reality is very different from the continental one. (Fortunately, the Azores is still a place of sustainable tourism, which serves both residents and travelers.) But the goal is the same: implement good practices and show guests that they can feel safe.

In the Azores, to receive the „Clean & Safe Açores” certificate, you also need to undergo special training. Other for restaurant owners, other for agritourism owners, other for whale watching and diving companies. You need to become familiar with the principles of safety and hygiene, and implement them in your company. These rules were prepared by health and tourism specialists in the region and by practitioners who provide tourism services here.

And here’s a small remark – the fact that someone in the Azores doesn’t have this certificate doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t clean or care about your health. Maybe, for example, someone is not a very „digital” person (trainings are online) or not up-to-date with news (see: most of the information is online). It happens. This is the Azores. A different world from the one you’re used to.

Clean & Safe Açores, Clean & Safe, clean, safe, Azores, certyfikat, certificate, znak, stamp, sign

Before going any further – two more remarks

First of all, I divided this article into several parts. First, I will describe the general principles, then I will go to the details of individual activities. I won’t repeat the general information contained in the first part. I will focus on those that are important in a given area. From a huge amount of information I chose those pieces that may be particularly important to you. And I mentioned them in points to make it easier for you to read. I hope it will be helpful for you.

Secondly, procedures and policies for some activities are still under development. This means that this article can grow over time. Come back to it regularly to see if the activity you’re interested in has already been described.

So, shall we start?


1. General principles

These are the rules that apply to all areas of public and tourist life in the Azores.

Three main rules:

  • breathing etiquette (coughing and sneezing into the sleeve, not in the face of the interlocutor) and hand hygiene (regular hand washing and disinfection) by employees and clients;
  • maintaining distance – the recommended distance is min. 2 meters;
  • observation of one’s own health; in case of COVID-19 symptoms – remain isolated and contact the regional healthcare line: +351 808 24 60 24.

Additional rules:

  • the maximum number of people simultaneously served should be reduced to 2/3 of the company’s capabilities (unless it’s a family or the same group);
  • if the recommended distance of 2 m is not possible, a physical barrier should be implemented (where it is possible, e.g. in a shop at the checkout);
  • avoid sitting in front of each other (doesn’t apply to family and the same group);
  • each company prepares a detailed cleaning plan; rooms and surfaces are cleaned and disinfected much more than before; especially the surfaces most frequently touched and most exposed to germs, i.e. door handles, counters, handrails, toilets, etc., should be disinfected with a big frequency;
  • the company must ensure the availability of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispenser; such a dispenser should be available in visible and most needed places, e.g. entry and exit, at the checkout, toilet, etc.;
  • priority should be given to the service of vulnerable people (people over 65 years old, with observable physical or mental difficulties, pregnant, with children up to 2 years old);
  • whenever possible, pay by card instead of cash, preferably contactless (payment terminals should be regularly disinfected);
  • where possible, mark the direction of movement on the floor.

2. Restaurants, cafes, etc.

The most important rules that apply to the operation of restaurants, cafes, etc. are as follows:

  • if possible, the option of prior reservation of seats should be introduced;
  • the menu should be displayed or easy to disinfect (e.g. laminated);
  • plates, cutlery and cups should be washed in a dishwasher at a minimum temperature 90 degrees C;
  • good ventilation should be provided in the premises, preferably through open doors and windows; air conditioning is only permitted if it provides a constant supply of fresh air from the outside;
  • employees must be in masks at all time;
  • customers must be in masks when they move around the place, while at the table they can take off their masks.

3. Hotels

„Clean & Safe Açores” guidelines for hotels that may be particularly important for you:

  • employees and hotel guests must use face masks in the common space (e.g. reception, corridor, elevator);
  • in hotel massage parlors, the awning and all equipment used for the massage must be washed and disinfected after each client;
  • at hotel gyms, hand disinfection at the entrance is obligatory, a reservation system may be introduced (to avoid overfilling), the use of equipment with a porous surface should be avoided, e.g. mattresses (solution: disposable, daily changed cover), equipment should be at a distance of min. 3 meters apart;
  • in hotel gardens and parks it is recommended to use face masks while moving; when you sit on a bench, you can take off the mask;
  • children must not bring their own toys to places of animation for children (kids clubs); all toys available in such a place should be easy to clean; children cannot share toys; if children sit or lie on the floor, they must take off their shoes before entering;
  • toiletries should, if possible, be supplied in reusable containers that are easy to clean; if this is impossible, they will be delivered in disposable packaging, at the customer’s request;
  • if during your stay at the hotel you notice symptoms of COVID-19, DO NOT GO TO THE HOSPITAL! Stay in your room! And call the special line: +351 808 24 60 24. (When you leave the room, it will be cleaned and disinfected according to a special procedure so that subsequent guests can safely stay in it).

4. Private accommodation, agrotourism and youth hostels

The rules in force in private accommodation, agritourism and youth hostels largely coincide with those in hotels. They are as follows:

  • employees and guests must use face masks in the common space (e.g. reception, corridor, elevator);
  • if you are one group, e.g. in a holiday home or apartment, the room you rent will be cleaned and disinfected only after you move out; if it is a shared space (e.g. a youth hostel), then of course cleaning takes place regularly;
  • in this type of accommodation, the owners will take care of regularly opening windows so that there is good ventilation;
  • toiletries should, if possible, be supplied in reusable containers that are easy to clean; if this is impossible, they will be delivered in disposable packaging, at the customer’s request;
  • in shared rooms, where there are e.g. bunk beds, the distance principle also applies 2 m between individuals if they are not members of one group or family;
  • in gardens and parks that belong to those places, it is recommended to use face masks while moving; when you sit on a bench, you can take off the mask; of course, if you are the only group / family using a given garden (e.g. you have rented the whole agritourism space), you don’t have to use masks;
  • if you notice COVID-19 symptoms during your stay, DO NOT GO TO THE HOSPITAL! Stay in your house / apartment / room! And call the special line: +351 808 24 60 24. (When you leave the house / apartment / room, everything will be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with a special procedure so that subsequent guests can safely stay in it).

Milena, jardim, garden, ogród, alejka, alley, selfie, Jardim Duque da Terceira, Angra, Angra do Heroismo, Angra do Heroísmo

5. Tourism and sea-tourism animation

Before I get to the rules in this area, two words, what is this tourism and sea-tourism animation (I’m not sure of the English name, sorry). Well, the animators are almost all the people who will take you on a trip around the island, trekking trail, whale watching, kayaking, diving, canyoning, milking cows, alcohol tasting, etc. Tourist animators are the providers of your fantastic experiences in the Azores!

Which rules do tourism animation companies in the Azores have to follow?

  • if possible, a reservation system should be introduced,
  • if possible, activities should be conducted in smaller groups;
  • „briefing”, i.e. instruction before the activity performed, should take place as far as possible in an open space, not in a closed room;
  • only people taking part in the activity should be present (accompanying persons are not welcome here);
  • regular air exchange (open doors and windows are welcome).

Cars and buses:

  • cleaning and disinfecting of the vehicles between successive trips with clients;
  • cars and buses can be filled to 2/3 of the capacity; for vehicles up to 9 places, the filling may be greater if the clients belong to the same group or family;
  • the seats next to the driver can’t be occupied unless there’s a physical barrier;
  • everyone must be in a mask (unless there is a physical barrier between the driver and passengers – then the driver may stay without a mask);
  • good ventilation (open windows or air conditioning with fresh outside air) must be ensured.

Boat trips:

  • everyone must have masks;
  • the boat must be disinfected after each use.

Equipment rental / equipment used for activities (e.g. life jackets):

  • every customer has his own equipment (equipment is not shared);
  • the customer is not allowed in the warehouse;
  • the employee gives the equipment directly to the client;
  • equipment is washed and disinfected after each use in accordance with the instructions for use.

Diving:

  • disinfected equipment is securely stored until it is used;
  • personal items must be locked in a cabinet (cabinets disinfected after use) or a bag;
  • all equipment is washed and disinfected after each use;
  • for glasses and masks, so that they do not fog, special liquids are used, not saliva.

Whales and dolphins watching, swimming with dolphins:

  • disinfected equipment is securely stored until it is used;
  • personal items must be locked in a cabinet (cabinets disinfected after use) or a bag;
  • for glasses and masks, so that they do not fog, special liquids are used, not saliva;
  • avoiding physical contact between employees and clients.

Canyoning, rappel and coasteering:

  • disinfected equipment is securely stored until it is used;
  • if possible, contact other companies providing similar services and set a schedule to avoid crowds at the place of activity (this belongs to the company, not to you);
  • look for solutions (e.g. routes in the river) that give customers the greatest possible independence (avoiding physical contact);
  • obligatory face masks until entering the water and after exiting (of course, in coasteering it is rather: until jumping into the water).
rappel, Milena, Angra do Heroismo, wspinaczka, climbing, Angra do Heroísmo
Fot. José Fonseca

Bicycle trips:

  • you should have your own water, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc.;
  • disinfected equipment (e.g. helmets) is securely stored until use;
  • activity should be planned in areas where there are fewer people (this is fortunately not a problem in the Azores);
  • if technical problems arise, the bike should be disinfected before and after repair.

Surfing & bodyboarding:

  • if possible, contact other companies providing similar services and set a schedule to avoid crowds at the place of activity (this belongs to the company, not to you);
  • if possible, bring your own material (foam, board, towels, etc.);
  • you cannot share technical materials with other customers;
  • your stay on the beach should be limited to activities only. (If you want to know the rules applicable on Azores beaches in 2020, read the article „Beaches and bathing beaches in the Azores – good practices for summer 2020„)

Horse riding:

  • you must have a mask and gloves in the stable and other enclosed spaces;
  • a company providing equestrian services should lead you to areas where there are no crowds;
  • disinfected equipment (e.g. helmets) is securely stored until use.

6. Travel agencies and other tourist information entities

The guidelines applicable to travel agencies, tourist information points, guides, etc. are as follows:

  • content should be provided mainly digitally, the transmission of printed materials (e.g. maps, brochures) should be avoided;
  • inform customers (i.e. you) about the applicable security measures;
  • adequate ventilation should be ensured (windows open);
  • when using vehicles, the same rules apply as those mentioned above;
  • employees should avoid sharing equipment and physical contact with other employees and clients;
  • „briefing”, i.e. instruction before the activity performed, should take place as far as possible in an open space, not in a closed room;
  • if possible, contact other companies providing similar services and set a schedule to avoid crowds at the place of activity (this belongs to the company, not to you).

7. Car rental

Car rental companies are required to adhere to the following Clean & Safe Açores rules:

  • cleaning and disinfecting of the vehicles between customers;
  • people cleaning vehicles should be properly prepared (overalls, mask, gloves, etc.);
  • whenever possible, car disinfection should take place at the site where the car is picked up by the next customer;
  • elements that the car is not permanently equipped with, e.g. GPS or a child seat, should be washed, disinfected and sealed, and handed over to the next customer in this form;
  • customers should take care of regular air exchange in the car – opening windows, using open-circuit air conditioning.

8. Tourist information points

The following rules apply at tourist information points and offices:

  • employees are required to monitor their health condition;
  • each employee should use their own office supplies, avoid sharing them;
  • „briefing”, i.e. instruction before the activity performed, should take place as far as possible in an open space, not in a closed room;
  • in the case of the use of vehicles, the rules described in point 5 apply (tourist animation – cars and buses).

Is it a lot? And there will be even more!

I know it’a lot. And there will be even more! There are several areas ahead of us: camping, museums, air and sea transport, public events, and more. These rules for them are being prepared. I will add them when they are ready.

Believe me, it took me a long time to gather this material and put it into a digestable version. But I hope that this will help you understand how Azorean companies care about your health and safety. And you’ll realize that the Azores are worth putting on your bucket list.

Azores – the first archipelago recognized as a sustainable tourist destination

The Azores have been recognized as one of the safest tourist destinations. And they are the first archipelago in the world described as a sustainable tourist destination. The Azores love responsible tourists who love nature and for whom living in harmony with their surroundings is important. This year gives us all a hard time, it’s still not too easy to get here, but the Azores are not going anywhere, they will be here in a year and in two as well. They will wait for you here!

See you in the Azores!


Terceira, Serra do Cume, Milena, miradouro, widok, punkt widokowy
Fot. Kate Negacz

Source: Clean & Safe Açores