Another summer with limited beach capacity
The local councils of the Girona coast will relax some measures but will maintain the control of influx in coves and beaches
dThe councils of the Girona coast are preparing for a summer with large crowds on the beaches and long queues to access the smaller ones, as happened last year in Calella de Palafrugell, Begur and Cala Bona in Blanes, among others. There is no longer a state of alarm and indicators of the pandemic awaken confidence thanks to the good pace of the vaccination campaign, but the beaches will not yet recover full normality this summer. The councils are still awaiting the health measures issued by Procicat in early June, when the bathing season is usually inaugurated, but they are already working on plans to limit capacity and hiring security guards to ensure compliance with the restrictions in force and avoid overcrowding. In addition, the elimination of the night curfew generates fear for the
Local councils along the Girona coast are preparing for a summer with large numbers of people on the beaches and long queues to access the smaller beaches, as happened last year in Calella de Palafrugell, Begur and Cala Bona in Blanes, among others. There is no longer a state of alarm and the indicators of the covid pandemic are reassuring thanks to the good pace of the vaccination campaign, but the beaches will not yet return to full normality this summer. The local councils are still awaiting the health measures issued by Procicat at the beginning of June, when the bathing season is usually inaugurated, but they are already working on plans to limit capacity and to hire security guards to ensure that the restrictions in force are complied with and to avoid overcrowding. In addition, the elimination of the night-time curfew has raised fears about the number of people drinking on the beaches, which is why some town councils have already announced surveillance measures to prevent this.
The experience of Easter, with coastal towns overflowing with visitors, and the fact that there will still be restrictions on travel abroad, mean that the summer season is expected to be very busy in nearby tourist destinations, such as the Costa Brava, where there are numerous small beaches and coves that require access restrictions if minimum safety guarantees are to be guaranteed.
Municipalities such as Palafrugell and Begur, where such beaches abound, were forced last summer to close them almost every day when the permitted capacity had already been filled. This year, pending the Procicat indications, the two councils are already clear that they will again impose limitations on capacity and access.
An app to find out if there is room on the beach
In Palafrugell, signs will indicate the permitted capacity on each of the beaches and a minimum of five civic agents will ensure that all the security measures imposed are respected. According to the mayor, Josep Piferrer, the City Council has already decided that this year they will re-activate the application that was launched last summer, which allowed swimmers to know which beaches were already completely full and which still had places available. "The application was very useful for us to manage the control of the beaches and it was widely used by bathers. Many changed their habits of going to the beach to avoid the peak times and the most crowded beaches", explains Piferrer.
In Begur the queues of bathers were concentrated last summer on the beaches of Aiguablava, sa Tuna and Fonda beach. The council's environmental technician, Xevi Turró, indicates that everything points to the fact that this summer the restrictions will be relaxed "a little", so that the capacity on the beaches can be increased, although he assures that this will not prevent queues to access the most coveted beaches of the municipality, such as the "iconic" Aiguablava, from returning.
Safety and quality in Begur
Turró indicates that the City Council is still drawing up the regulation plan of the beaches for this summer, which will not only take into account the indications of Procicat, but also those required by the international quality seal Save Tourism Certificate. Begur was one of the few Catalan municipalities to obtain this certificate and, according to the Town Council, bathers appreciated it and resigned themselves to queuing for long lines to enter the beaches because they were compensated for it in order to enjoy maximum "safety, cleanliness and comfort". In Aiguablava, between 9 and 10 in the morning, the queue was already starting. Àngels Dalmau, a regular user of Aiguablava beach, and also of Tamariu, explains that although some criticised the restrictions, many people were grateful for them because the controls prevented the excessive crowds that formed every summer. "Yes, you had to queue, but at least you could breathe and be calm on the beach", she says. As people left the beach, those in the queue could go in. "It was like waiting for a restaurant. The guard would raise his hand and say: two places! And then the first couple in line could enter the beach".
In Blanes last year there were kilometric queues of bathers to access the Bona cove. "This year we will again put physical barriers, signage and guards to control access", say sources from the City Council. Twelve citizen agents will be hired, as last year, to ensure compliance with capacity and health safety measures.
No beach segmentation in Lloret
This summer Lloret will not repeat the segmentation of the beach that was done last year according to the types of groups (seniors, families or adults who go as a couple, with friends or alone). However, according to the council, it will maintain measures such as capacity control on the beaches, and recommendations such as access with cohexistence bubbles and maintaining safety distances. It will also reinforce the staff of civic, tourist and beach informers.
Users will be able to access this information in streaming through the City Council's website and an application that can be downloaded to their mobile phones.
More surveillance at night in Platja d'Aro
Signposting and surveillance will also be present on the three main beaches of Platja d'Aro -platja Gran, cala Rovira and sa Conca -, where the cleaning services for toilets (which include hydroalcoholic gel dispensers), showers and footbaths will be reinforced. The team of 35 municipal informers who last year ensured the adaptation of the whole population and tourism to the "new normality" will not be there this year. Instead, according to the City Council, it will be reinforced with six interim staff of the Local Police, "because unlike the informers, have the ability to impose sanctions, in a season that is expected to need more controls in public space, especially on the beaches during the evening and at night to avoid crowds or situations of consumption of alcoholic beverages in groups".