Hello, My Friends!
As I continue visiting with my friends and colleagues around the world, I am amazed by the resilience and strength they all show as they lead their businesses and daily lives. Today I visited with Jorge Silva, Manager of ToursbyJorge.com. We’ve worked together for many years, and he has some valuable insight into the current health & economic situation in Portugal.
Jorge, I’ve spoken with several friends around Europe, but how are you all adapting to the current situation in Portugal?
First off, hello to my colleagues around the world. I hope this finds you in a safe and isolated environment with amazing health and moods. Although the world as we know it has already changed, we are still adapting to a new reality. COVID-19 arrived later to Portugal compared to the rest of Europe (right before spring break and Easter vacations). Realizing the unfortunate truth from other European countries, our president declared an Emergency Level several weeks ago.
What is your country doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
The Ministry of Education shut down schools to contain the spread. The Government says our peak will be in mid-April (although the population thinks it will be in May). What we all hope will make the difference is that our government called for lockdown earlier than Italy or Spain.
You mentioned that Portugal is being very proactive in preparing for the virus. Could you tell us more about that?
We are currently transforming hospitals and adapting gymnasiums into field hospitals…they’re still empty and haven’t been filled yet. We all hope that doesn’t need to happen!!! There is a general sense of community, responsibility, and helping others. Only by staying indoors are you doing all three. In the last fifteen days, I only left my home twice to buy groceries…and a ton more wine!
When do you all expect life and business to be “back to normal”?
After the peak, we expect probably three to four months of “cleaning” the country before we’re back to mostly normal life this fall. But this half depends on how other countries are dealing with the virus and what measures they adopt.
Do you have any updates on the tourism economy in Portugal?
As we are all aware, there is very little chance for tourism this year…I’m counting on at least twelve months with no business (hoping for only nine months–let’s think positive). The Portuguese Government has already created programs to help the economy. Let’s hope for the best–we’ll see Americans back again in Europe soon!!!
Thanks for filling us in, Jorge. We’ll continue to think positive and hope to see you in only nine months!
Give me a call!