“You make reservations at restaurants, sure. But how about booking in advance just to get a spot on the sand at the beach?
That’s exactly what some beachgoers will have to do in Spain this summer, thanks to the coronavirus crisis.” – CNN
Canet d’en Berenguer, a Mediterranean town located just north of Valencia, will only allow 5,000 daily sunbathers on its local beach, around half the usual number, in order to maintain social distancing.
These spaces will need to be reserved in advance via a mobile phone app.
“This summer will be very different,” Pere Joan Antoni Chordá, the town’s mayor, tells CNN. “There’ll be more space between your neighbor. Like a ‘business-class’ beach.”
Canet will use a grid pattern to divide its broad, flat beach into square sections, each separated by two meters (six feet).
The sections are to be delineated by laying a series of nets on the sand that look like huge soccer goalpost nets to accommodate bigger groups of sunbathers.
Beachgoers will be allowed to book a sunbathing session for either the morning or afternoon, but not all day.
According to the mayor, sunbathers can reserve any available area, much like selecting seats online at a movie theater, and arrival times will be staggered to avoid crowds.
Beach crowd control
Access points to the beach are also to be reduced.
Once they arrive and confirm their reservation with staff, beachgoers will be led to their allocated section.
Antoni considers the advance reservations and staggered arrival times an essential measure.
“I wouldn’t be able to control the flow of people [without the new measures]. They would be all together, contaminating each other,” he explains.
Canet d’en Berenguer isn’t the only Spanish town opting to limit beach access this summer.
This rendering shows how authorities plan to rope off zones to keep people at a safe distance from each other. Credits: Sanxenxo City
Over in Galicia, on the Atlantic Ocean, Sanxenxo will only allow sunbathers entry on a “first come, first served” basis.
However, Mayor Telmo Martin says he isn’t worried about crowds forming at the beach access points.
“Tourism is 80% of our economy,” Martin tells CNN. “We have to come up with solutions so that our people feel safe, from a health standpoint. I ask for responsibility from all.”
Sanxenxo, situated just an hour’s drive north of the Portuguese border, aims to allow a maximum of 75% of its normal beachgoers.
The town, one of northern Spain’s top tourist destinations, is also opting for grid patterns of sections for sunbathers with at least 1.5 meters (five feet) between them, on its main beach.
In addition, wooden posts with cords attached to form small squares for just a few sunbathers, or larger ones for a bigger group, will be added, according to Martin.
City workers are to control access to the beach, accompanying bathers to each section.
However, beachgoers here will no longer be able to occupy a spot all day simply by leaving their towels on it.
If they leave for lunch, they lose their spot to others, says Martin.