Expat controversy over lack of beach attendants this summer in Spain’s Andalucia.
For this summer it has been announced that the Andalucian Government will not be hiring beach attendants like they did last year, so could this be a step towards a new normal on the beach, or a descent into chaos and a recipe for rising coronavirus infections.
Last summer the Andalucian beaches were monitored by beach attendants who controlled everything from where you sat, to how many people were allowed on the beach at any one time. For some beachgoers this was a great idea and ensured that everyone obeyed the rules, but others though found the beach attendants’ attention too much of an interference with their beach plans.
Last summer the Andalusian government hired 3000 attendants who were deployed across beaches throughout the summer in order to help control the spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus pandemic in Spain’s Andalucia. The 3000 attendants though came in at a staggering cost of 24 million euros according to Diario Sur.
A concerned EWN reader said, “I think that the system in place last year was a success, was well monitored and spacing and rules were adhered too. Last year we saw holiday makers in Spain in the news blatantly flouting the rules in reference to the wearing of masks and social distancing. If the borders open up again and we have tourists, I don’t see anything changing from last year when they all head to the beach considering recent news of parks in the UK being locked down due to mass gatherings and the rule of 6 being ignored.”
The concerned British expat went on to say that, “We are still in the grips of a pandemic, what makes beach patrols less important this year than last year. We have just seen more resources deployed over the Easter period enforcing the rules and the number of rule breaches were staggering.
“What makes the government think that left to our own devices we will police ourselves and be sensible.”
The beach attendants were seen from mid-June through to mid-September last year as they helped all beachgoers comply with the coronavirus measures which the local councils had put in place in their contingency plans.
For many sun worshippers the attendants on the beaches were a welcome sight as it ensured that families and individuals alike had a safe time at the beach and could relax knowing that the beaches would not be overcrowded. Although for others, the intervention was unwelcome as it limited people’s space and movement on the beaches and what they could do, and was seen as intrusive.
This year though Andalucian beachgoers will be trusted to maintain Coronavirus safety measures on their own, and the Minister of the Presidency, Elías Bendodo explained that, “We believe that Andalucians are aware and are very responsible when it comes to protecting themselves and continuing to avoid contagion.
“Last year the summer season practically coincided with the first wave and it was necessary for there to be auxiliaries to comply with the rules.
“This time it won’t be necessary because we have all become aware of the seriousness and importance of protecting ourselves and complying with these rules.”
On Tuesday, Bendodo also called for “common sense” and asked the Spanish government to “rectify” the compulsory mask wearing “for sunbathing on the beach”. He also went on to quip that the government “cannot be more papist than the Pope and demand that to sunbathe you have to wear a mask”.
Debbie Lowe Atkinson, Competa speaking to the EWN about the changes for this summer said that, “As a parent, I wouldn’t take my Children to a crowded beach !”
Debbie went on to add that, “I would feel comfortable on the beach but I think it’s necessary for them to be policed- for the chiringuitos and the small sunbed hire businesses who really could do with the business. I know if it was well policed I would go.”