EXPATS on the Costa del Sol and the length of the Andalucia coast eager to get back on the beaches as soon as the next stage of the lockdown de-escalation allows are going to have to get used to lots of ‘new normality’ rules aimed at preventing coronavirus infection.
Assuming Malaga and Granada, as well as Almeria, Huelva and Cadiz, all move into Phase two on Monday May 25, beaches throughout the region will start reopening to bathers and sunbathers from next week onwards. But the Covid-19 crisis means the experience is going to be very different from what beach-goers are used to.
The Junta de Andalucia has this week published a list of recommendations on what people can and can’t do and advisable behaviour.
To begin with, the regional government specifies that anyone with the virus or with symptoms compatible with Covid-19 must stay from the beaches altogether.
The administration recommends showering before setting out for the beach and again after arriving. The Junta also advises being well-prepared for any beach jaunt, going equipped with clean clothes and swimming accessories and sufficient towels for one per person.
A further recommendation is to take bags for rubbish, which should be well tied up when they’re done with and deposited in beach bins and skips.
Sharing anything with anyone else is completely discouraged, and touching the nose or mouth or swallowing water is to be avoided, the administration says.
Social distancing will be essential, the Junta makes clear.
The Andalucia administration calls on the public adopt a responsible attitude and to do their bit to protect their health and that of others by taking note of what the Covid-19 information signs say, complying with the health protection measures, and doing what the life guards tell them.
One point on the list which will won’t go down well with real beach lovers is the request stay no longer than four hours, either morning or afternoon, to prevent overcrowding.
At the same time, the Junta has produced a series of recommendations for local councils currently drawing up municipal plans on beach use under the exceptional circumstances created by the pandemic.
Limiting the number of people allowed on beaches at any one time will, the Junta points out, be obligatory, and measures will have to be introduced which guarantee a minimum distance of two metres between beach-goers.
And where the accesses to beaches don’t allow for social distancing, there should be one point for people coming and a separate one for those leaving.
Only individual sporting activity involving no physical contact should be allowed.
According to the Andalucia government local authorities should also establish beach opening and closing times, allowing for cleaning and disinfection at the beginning and end of every day.