Spain, France and Italy open the bathing season, as long as physical distance is followed

These days the bathing season on the Mediterranean coast begins. In Spain in some coastal cities every second job depends on tourism – so the dispute over the beaches is not primarily about the freedom, but rather about economic survival.

Spain coastline reaches 8000 kilometers, there are more than 3500 beaches. Surfing and swimming are already allowed since Monday, sunbathing is still prohibited. Before the beginning of July, Spaniards are forbidden to travel to other provinces, foreign tourists, when entering Spain, will be obliged to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

The ministry, responsible for reopening the beaches, is still working on a security protocol. It is likely that showers and toilets will remain closed. In Lloret de Mar there will be three zones – families, seniors and adults without children will sunbathe separately. The distance of 4.4 meters should be kept between the parasols in Calvià, in the west of Majorca, and 8 meters – in the north, in Alcúdia. It is quite possible that the lifeguards will turn into a control room. To avoid large crowds on the beaches, there will be sensors on the Costa de Sol street lights, able to measure the amount of people on the beach. This year lying half-naked on the sand elbow-to-elbow is forbidden.

In its turn in France swimming, walking, playing volleyball is allowed, while sunbathing and picnicking is temporary forbidden. In order to reopen the beaches, the mayors who have beaches in their districts are obliged to ask the prefects for permission. To open a beach, mayors have to come up with a concept to ensure that the citizens will keep safe distance.

However, the openings provoke controversies. The mayors put pressure on the prefectures – first of all, because of the long curfew, and secondly, because of small shops in narrow inner cities that were allowed to reopen, while the extensive beaches remain closed. Since in other cities it is normal to walk in parks or to go to the lake on weekends, for residents of coastal cities swimming in the sea or having a drink on the beach in the evening is a part of local culture. Restaurants and cafes that live off beach traffic remain closed – a decision as to when they can open again should be made in early June, according to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

In Italy this Monday the beaches open on the Adriatic, Liguria and on the coast of Rome. Other regions will reopen at the end of May. Often only walkers and swimmers are allowed into the water at first. Complete beach days will be possible under strict rules: visitors must reserve their places beforehand, using the app; there must be a distance at least 4.5 meters between the parasols, lying – two meters apart. It is forbidden to lie directly on the sand with the towel, beach volleyball is also prohibited, as any other team sport.

Just as lifeguards monitor the water, in some places digital alarm bands are being discussed for all bathers, to ensure that distance rules and assembly prohibitions are followed. On free, unmanaged beaches, drones are supposed to monitor the behavior of vacationers.

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