The coastal municipalities in the Campo de Gibraltar have deployed over 200 “controllers” this 2020 summer season. Their job is to ensure that the new COVID19 social distancing rules are followed.
This year the coastal regions of the Campo de Gibraltar and throughout Spain will live through an odd summer. As Spain progresses through the “de-escalation” of the State of Alarm decreed on March 14, we’re now very close to the so-called “new normal” level- though mindful of the fact that we are still in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic. Coastal local authorities have been preparing to ensure that the use and enjoyment of the beaches does not cause a resurgence of COVID19 cases whilst working to allow the tourism and hospitality industry, which has been hit so hard by the crisis to at least salvage the season.
Still lacking foreign tourists or visitors from other autonomous communities, the beaches in San Roque, La Línea, Los Barrios, Algeciras and Tarifa faced an atypical summer season this Monday, June 15: New regulations were rolled out on capacities, health and safety measures together with a call for common sense from the different administrations.
The “Playas Seguras 2020” (“Safe Beaches 2020”) plan, which was launched this week by the Government of Andalucía has seen 216 beach guards recruited for the Campo de Gibraltar, as well as an investment of just over €417,000 for the acquisition of life-saving equipment. Each town council has recently published the legal provisions that will govern this year’s official bathing season, although, given the good weather in the area, thousands of Campo-Gibraltarians have already been enjoying the beaches with few restrictions.
As from Monday 15, beaches in Algeciras are now “controlled” from 12 noon to 8 pm: 11 of the 32 guards be on duty at El Rinconcillo, La Concha, El Chinarral and Getares beaches. According to the City Council, the task for these ‘controllers’ is to “guarantee the safety of beach-goers, carry out surveillance for social safety compliance, control access, monitor capacity, and to work with the Local Police to allow for the orderly development of the bathing season”.
As with every summer, beaches will be freely accessible throughout the day, but peak times, which see the highest number of bathers, are when said surveillance will be at its highest maintained, in addition to the provision of public announcement systems, toilets and lifeguards. “This year, more than ever, its essential that beach-goers demonstrate civility, respect, a commitment to hygiene and comply with the new beach rules,” said the Algeciras councillor for Public Security Jacinto Muñoz, who also explained that this “contingency plan” and its restrictions on freedom of movement “will be reviewed every 15 days, so it may vary depending on the circumstances.”
La Línea beaches will have 68 “controllers” as from June 15. The municipal website now includes a section with daily, real-time updates as to the status of each beach between 12:00 to 20:00. The information will be uploaded by the lifeguards and will include information on capacity, sea conditions and currents, what the flag status of each beach is, water temperature, heat index and even whether there are jellyfish. The La Línea City Council published a mayoral decree that includes these measures of the Contingency Plan some days ago; it was prepared by the Civil Protection service, and reminds that whilst umbrellas and parasols are allowed, the popular beach cabins are not.
Tarifa has the largest expanses of beaches in the region, from Playa Chica to Bolonia and Atlanterra, passing through wide sandy areas like Los Lances and Valdevaqueros. Tarifa has the largest number of “controllers” hired by the Regional Government of Andalucia Board, a total of 70 in addition to an investment of almost €124,000 for surveillance and life-saving equipment.
San Roque’s tourism expectations are concentrated on the “recovery” of Sotogrande. The municipality of San Roque will have 38 beach guards, while Los Barrios, has been assigned 6 guards for its Palmones beach.
All face up to this very different summer of 2020, with a challenge of combining leisure with collective and individual responsibility.
Masks to be mandatory if you cannot keep your distance from other bathers
Beach goers in the Campo de Gibraltar and the rest of Spain are obliged to obey certain basic rules this summer, and each family or ‘coexistence unit’ must comply with the general preventive safety measures established by the Ministry of Health: Maintain a physical distance of 2 meters and practise good respiratory hygiene, both in the sand and in the water; children under 14 must be accompanied by at least one adult. To avoid crowds there is a recommendation that people should not to stay on the beach for more than 4 hours at a time.
Masks are not compulsory so long as the social distancing is maintained, or the users belong to the same ‘coexistence unit’. Of course you can remove your mask in the water, but only during your time spent in the sea.
For now, recreational games using balls and paddles and li los and rafts are prohibited. On the other hand, sports boats, surfboards, and those used for paddle surfing, windsurfing, kite boarding; continue to be allowed in the designated nautical channels.
As for the restrooms, this summer, only the very basic necessities in the form of WCs and urinals will be provided; showers, changing rooms and lockers will be closed, as well as drinking water fountains, outdoor showers, and footbaths (except for specially adapted cabins for people with disabilities). The use of the toilets, which will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at least 3 times a day, will be limited to one person, unless they need to be accompanied, and the use of masks and footwear is mandatory. In them, there are hydro-alcoholic gel dispensers, soap dispensers, and, if possible, sensor hand dryers.