At stake are nine hotels in the Algarve and one in Alentejo, which will reopen between Sunday, 31 May, and 27 June, depending on the occupation and foreseen reservations, allowing workers to familiarize themselves with the “health guarantees required and recommended by international and national authorities” for the reopening of the hotel business, the group's executive director told Lusa.
The units closed after the declaration of a state of emergency by the Portuguese Government in mid-March, and the reopening began to be prepared according to the new health and social distance rules “since it was realized that this period was coming to an end and there would be a progressive lack of definition”, explained Mário Ferreira.
According to that official, the hotels “have virtually no reserves for international markets for the month of June”, but, nevertheless, the group has “a great penetration in the national market”, which allowed it to have, before the pandemic, “numbers more than 50 percent, of occupation by the Portuguese in the summer”.
"We have been doing contact work with our customers with reservations for the month of June to see if we can actually count on them and make decisions regarding the units that we would open due to exactly these occupancy rates", said the group director, who has about 570 employees.
The group has “an operation plan that guarantees sanitary safety, for both workers and customers” and is concerned with “not turning hotels into clinics or hospitals”, but implementing an “effective response to everything that is practical recommended or imposed by national and international institutions ”to prevent the spread of the virus.
The reopening will be done with occupancy rates lower than usual and this will allow workers to become familiar with the new hygiene and safety standards, he justified.
“We will have a drop of more than 80 percent in June compared to the same month last year. We believe that we have to put the economy to work, put hotels to work and remove our workers from the 'lay-off', but, above all, we have to train these new operational principles with which hotels will work”, he argued.
Mário Ferreira therefore considered that it is “better to start with little occupation to train, fine-tune and adjust practices, procedures, protocols and behaviours” and to have “everyone trained and accustomed to working with this new reality” when the occupations are “more consistent”.
“The average occupancy rate in June will be low, it won't even reach 20 percent”, he estimated, considering that, although “in July and August you can already count on international markets, such as the British”, the “very high rates are not compatible with these health and safety protocols.”
The hotels will reopen without exceeding two-thirds of full occupancy and all have the “Clean & Safe” distinction from Turismo de Portugal, which certifies the implementation of the security protocols established by the health authorities to allow the reopening of the hotel business.
The group's hotels that will start reopening from Sunday, 31 May, are the Governor's Palace, São Rafael Suites, São Rafael Atlântico, Salgados Dunas Suites, Salgados Palace, Salgados Palm Village, Salgados Vila das Lagoas, Morgado Golf & Country Club and Salema Beach Village, in the Algarve, and Lake Montargil & Vilas, in Alentejo.