Normally bustling Spanish beaches have been left deserted as Britons stay away after the Foreign Office warned of all non-essential travel and the government imposed a 14-day quarantine
Image: Alamy Live News.)
Brits are ignoring social distancing and packing a popular UK resort town while many Spanish beaches lie empty after the Foreign Office bans travel to the country.
Fears of a second wave in Spain after an increase in coronavirus cases have led the UK government to impose a 14-day quarantine rule on all travelers returning from mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canaries.
In popular tourist resorts in Spain, beaches have been closed to ensure vacationers respect social distancing and some require bathers to wear face masks.
But photos taken today at Lyme Regis in Dorset showed a very different scene.
Swarms of bathers and swimmers were seen enjoying the sun as it reached 22 degrees at the resort.
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Mercury is expected to skyrocket this week with temperatures expected to hit 33C on Friday.
The sweltering temperatures could bring comfort to some of the thousands unable to make it to Spain after official advice changed.
Despite the travel ban, rebellious Britons have always been pictured flying to Spanish airports, but some resorts are like ghost towns with no tourists to spot.
Photos taken today at a beach in Estepona, on the Costa del Sol, Spain, showed an almost completely deserted beach
The eerie scene contrasted sharply with scenes captured in the UK today as Britons stayed at home after the new travel ban.
A handful of bathers could be seen near the shore, but there was no social distancing issue.
Similar scenes were captured on Fuengirola beach as sunbeds went unused while tourists stayed away.
In May, Spanish officials claimed it was the first beach to use artificial intelligence to reduce the numbers.
But no technology was needed today, raising fears that many businesses on the Costa Del Sol will not reopen after the pandemic, due to a financial collapse.
Likewise, restaurants and bars have been hit hard without the large number of Brits who normally descend for the summer holidays.
Spanish authorities have reacted angrily to the Foreign Ministry’s warning against travel to Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearics.
Spain’s prime minister called the recent decision “disproportionate”.
Pedro Sanchez told broadcaster Telecinco that Spanish authorities are working to remove the policy for destinations like Valenica where the infection rate is low.
In Ibiza, the normally noisy island felt like a ghost town as revelers stayed away.
The Balearic government says people should wear face masks in all public spaces except beaches, swimming pools and when playing sports.
And the island’s super clubs, like Ushuaia, are currently closed, but outdoor venues like O Beach are still open – though attendees must follow strict social distancing rules.
Vacationers who have flown to White Island have reported positive experiences – although many sites are still closed.
Sam and Scott Finch flew on July 16 from Manchester Airport with Jet2.
Sam told the MEN: “It was nice to be so calm.
“The beaches here are very large and therefore social distancing for us was easy.
“It’s very quiet. Very few places are open. It looks like it will open more from August 1.”
Restaurants and bars across Spain have been forced to cut capacity in order to comply with strict social distancing rules.
Many, like this steak restaurant in Torremolinos, have closed and put up for sale because the owners fail to keep it running.
Normal footage showing crowds of Brits enjoying beer and cheap food did not appear this year as many holidaymakers have chosen to stay at home instead.
The government suddenly removed Spain from its list of “airlifts” on Saturday night.
But some vacationers have flown abroad despite the change in official advice on July 25.
The travel ban was imposed after several parts of Spain recorded a spike in infections.
In particular, the regions of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarre were hit hard, with a total of 59,296 active cases.
Many airlines have pledged to continue their flights, including easyJet and British Airways, although TUI and Jet2 have halted their holidays for now.
Overseas holidaymakers have expressed their shock after the fall in the new measures less than five hours after their announcement.
In Benalmadena, near Malaga on the Costa del Sol, the Mirror spoke with Claire Herstell, 47, who arrived on Friday with her husband Graham, 48, and children Lynden, 14, and Laila, 13.
Claire, from Manchester, said: “We didn’t know this was going to happen. We wanted to come but because we had booked it independently we would have wasted all of our money.
“If we knew this was going to happen, we wouldn’t have come at all. “
But No10 warned other countries could face similar restrictions if the infection rate is deemed too high.
The Prime Minister’s spokesperson said: “Decisions on border measures and travel advice can be changed quickly if necessary to help stop the spread of the disease.
“Unfortunately, no travel is safe during this pandemic and disruption is possible.
“Anyone traveling abroad should know that our list of travel advice and exemptions is constantly being revised. “