Sun-seekers and beach-goers returning to Spain’s shores when the lockdown ends and travel restrictions relax will need to observe vital social distancing.
On March 16, Spain entered nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. All non-essential businesses have been closed, borders have been sealed, and its world-famous shores have been closed to the public with red flags hoisted on the beaches. After the Easter weekend, some of those restrictions were lifted with a small percentage of the population returning to work in non-essential industries.
And while other restrictions will be relaxed in May, Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto told El Pais newspaper she did not know when the borders would reopen. She said it depends on how “the health crisis evolves” but advised tourism will be one of the last sectors to “overcome the crisis”.
Beaches remain closed and swimming in the sea is prohibited under state of emergency rules, even with warmer weather on the horizon. Ms Maroto said social distancing rules will continue in the predictable and beachgoers will need to adjust their behavior accordingly. This means that even in the height of summer, crowds will be off-limits and there will likely be strict rules regarding towel placement and swimming.
“It is very important that we continue to follow the sanitary recommendations, we have to continue what we are doing now, washing our hands, keeping a social distance … even on the beach,” she explained. “Until there is a vaccine, nothing will be the same. Gatherings will have to have boundaries to maintain an adequate safety distance.”
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Spain is the second most visited country in the world, after France. Its vibrant mix of brilliant beaches, culture, food, history and year-round sunshine drew a record 83.7 million visitors last year.