British expats hit the beaches in Benidorm for the first time in three months as the Spanish resort opened its famous stretches of sand for the first time in three months.
Beaches were far less crowded than normal for mid-June with strict social distancing rules in force, including segregated areas for the over 70s and a reservation system which will be rolled out further into the summer season.
Monitors in blue tops, who were also wearing facemasks, helped direct sunseekers to their spot on the sand, reports MirrorOnline.
Benidorm mayor Toni Perez said: “We’re making sure people can enjoy the beach as they’ve always done knowing that these public spaces are protected.
“It’s a very versatile system. Benidorm is here today to say to the world that it can manage beaches of this size which are capable of giving enjoyment to thousands of people.”
Mr Perez added: “The opening up of the borders will enable us to climb this great slope we have fallen down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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“Benidorm’s Poniente and Levante beaches can cater for around 40,000 people normally when they’re at their busiest. With the new system we’re going to be able to cater for more than 25,000 users.”
The plan, called ‘Benidorm Beach Safety’, has divided its Levante and Poniente beaches into 20 sectors. There are 12 “open-access” sectors which will be divided into individual areas catering for up to four people, with some sectors reserved for the over 70s.
Some areas will be reserved for operators who have the licence to operate the hire of sunbeds.
Capacity has been limited to 26,066 people, who will access the beaches via one of 20 manned points.
Beaches will be open from 9am to 9pm with sunseekers able to reserve their space via an app or in person through information centres.
Spanish government officials said British tourists would be allowed into Spain from next Monday as it opens up its borders earlier than planned to nationals from other EU countries.