Popular tourism hotspot Benidorm finally opens its beaches tomorrow after three months of being closed.
It is one of the last batch of holiday resorts in Spain to kick back into action as the country’s coronvirus pandemic restrictions ease.
The local council says it has drawn up a comprehensive plan with a beach management contractor and Visit Benidorm.
It will include an online booking system, designated spaces for over-70s, and a beach-goer limit of around 26,000 at any one time.
And it could see Brits travelling to Spain allowed back on beaches as early as July 10 if the country opens its borders to the UK.
As yet, there has been no mention of the UK or when British holidaymakers will be allowed back into Spain.
The country’s Prime Minister announced this morning that travellers from all European countries in the Schengen area will be allowed to enter Spain from June 21.
Only Portugal is excluded, because its leaders have agreed a ceremonial reopening of the borders with neighbour Spain on July 1.
The Benidorm plan says it “guarantees the use of the beaches to the entire population, resident and tourist, under certain health security conditions.”
Benidorm’s mayor, Toni Pérez revealed details of the blueprint that outlines how the holiday hotspot plans to deal with demand safely.
Toni Pérez said the reopening of the beaches and the implementation of the plan would take place before June 22, when Spanish tourists will be allowed back.
Some tourists from abroad would be allowed back on Benidorms beaches from July 1.
Brits would not be permitted back until at least July 10, the mayor said.
However travellers from the UK at this stage still face mandatory two-week quarantine when they return home, making holidays abroad awkward.
The UK lockdown also continues to ban all but ‘essential’ travel as authorities urge people to stay off public transport.
The UK government has faced criticism over its introduction of quarantine measures, as some claimed it was too little too late.
Airlines have claimed the quarantine rules will be impossible to enforce, as the government said travellers arriving back into the UK will be ‘spot-checked’ to ensure they are complying with the rules.
How will the Benidorm beach plan work?
According to Benidorm’s plan, the main Levante and Poniente beaches will be divided into 20 sectors.
Twelve of the sectors would freely accessible with 5,122 4×4 metre plots.
Each plot may be occupied by one to four people, up to a maximum occupancy of 20,488 people.
The spaces would be divided up into two types of open access sectors.
Those over 70 years of age would be in the ‘green network’.
Everyone else would be in the ‘blue network’.
However over-70s could also choose to join the other sector, the plan says.
RA Benidorm, which has a beach management contract, will have eight sectors to look after, according to the plan.
It will install 5,578 hammocks, about 875 fewer than those contemplated in an ordinary situation.
That would bring the maximum number of people officially allowed on the beach at any one time to about 26,066.
The mayor explained that “these physical measures of subdivision, sectors and access control will be operational as of this Monday; while the implementation of technological measures will be gradual and staggered, taking into account the influx of users ”.
Officials are creating a beach spot booking platform online, expected to go live in days – and before July 1.
The website will be able to be accessed from the websites of the City Council and Visit Benidorm.
Until then, access to the beach will be without an appointment and users will be shown to their slot by accommodation staff.
The website will include a virtual queue management system.
The beach will also have six information points where possible incidents will be resolved.
In-person assistance will be provided to people who do not have the technological means to make a beach spot reservation, according to the plan.
The website and signage around beachfront Benidorm would outline the rules.
Beachgoers would be able to report ‘incidents’ online in real time.
The mayor said the beach would be open between 9am-9pm daily once all the plans kick in.
In the days where peak demand was expected, morning and afternoon shifts could be established to double beach staff capacity to handle requests, he said.