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Costa Del Sol hires an army of beach assistants to police social distancing

Spanish regions that rely on the tourist trade are ramping up their efforts to get foreign visitors back on the beaches as the country eases its lockdown further today. 

In Costa del Sol, an army of 3,000 beach assistants will make sure tourists obey social distancing rules on Spain‘s busiest beaches this summer and Mallorca is asking for permission to reopen to tourists earlier than the nationwide target of July. 

But in Benidorm the local mayor joined anger at the UK’s plans for a 14-day quarantine for Brits returning from abroad that will make it impractical for British tourists to take a holiday this summer. 

Priti Patel’s announcement of a quarantine regime that will be introduced on June 8 requiring arrivals to the UK to self-isolate for 14 days dashed the hopes of British tourists wanting a holiday in the sun this summer. 

But ministers are now looking into striking quarantine-free pacts or ‘air bridges’ with summer destinations – such as France, Spain and Greece – by August and possibly July.   

Patel said she is ‘absolutely open’ to the idea of air bridges between nations sparking fresh hope for Britons wanting to travel abroad in the summer months.

People enjoy a morning out at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on May 24, as the country slowly loosens a strict coronavirus lockdown

People enjoy a morning out at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on May 24, as the country slowly loosens a strict coronavirus lockdown

People enjoy a morning out at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on May 24, as the country slowly loosens a strict coronavirus lockdown

Two women wearing sports gear practise yoga at dawn at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona

Two women wearing sports gear practise yoga at dawn at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona

Two women wearing sports gear practise yoga at dawn at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona

Two women walk with their paddleboards as people enjoy a morning out at La Barceloneta Beach on Sunday

Two women walk with their paddleboards as people enjoy a morning out at La Barceloneta Beach on Sunday

Two women walk with their paddleboards as people enjoy a morning out at La Barceloneta Beach on Sunday 

The hired workers in Costa Del Sol will also be tasked with preventing overcrowding as hordes of holidaymakers flock to the seaside after the stresses of the last few months.

Juanma Moreno, president of the regional Junta de Andalucia government whose remit includes British favourite the Costa del Sol, announced the pioneering move on Sunday afternoon.

He said the beach assistants would work closely with town-hall employed local police and lifeguards on Spain’s southern beaches.

The area they will be expected to cover stretches from the province of Almeria in the east to Huelva in the west, although a large percentage are expected to be assigned to beaches on the Costa del Sol which is one of Spain’s best-known international stretches of coastline. 

Outside of famous Costa del Sol resorts like Marbella and Torremolinos, Andalucia also includes popular British resorts like Mojacar and the fantastic beaches of Costa de la Luz such as those in Tarifa and Zahara de los Atunes.

A woman takes pictures of a friend on a night out on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga on May 23

A woman takes pictures of a friend on a night out on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga on May 23

A woman takes pictures of a friend on a night out on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga on May 23

A couple walk along La Barceloneta Beach. An 'army' of 3,000 beach assistants will make sure sure tourists obey social distancing rules on Spain's busiest beaches this summer

A couple walk along La Barceloneta Beach. An 'army' of 3,000 beach assistants will make sure sure tourists obey social distancing rules on Spain's busiest beaches this summer

A couple walk along La Barceloneta Beach. An ‘army’ of 3,000 beach assistants will make sure sure tourists obey social distancing rules on Spain’s busiest beaches this summer

Two women wearing face masks practise yoga at dawn at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on May 24

Two women wearing face masks practise yoga at dawn at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on May 24

Two women wearing face masks practise yoga at dawn at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on May 24

UK quarantine rules  

The government has said that people arriving in the UK from June 8 MUST self-isolate for 14 days to help slow the spread of coronavirus. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the measure would ‘reduce the risk of cases crossing our border’. 

People will be required to tell the government where they plan to self-isolate. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the measure would 'reduce the risk of cases crossing our border'

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the measure would 'reduce the risk of cases crossing our border'

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the measure would ‘reduce the risk of cases crossing our border’

The rule will be enforced by random checks and fines of up to £1000. 

Border Force chief Paul Lincoln said those who did not have their own accommodation to self-isolate in would be provided facilities by the government, at their own expense. 

The announcement sparked a row with British holidaymakers hoping to go abroad this summer, while airlines slammed the new measure as ‘effectively killing air travel’. 

The government is now considering ‘air bridges’ to allow tourists to travel without quarantining to countries that have low infection rates. 

The new measures will be renewed every three weeks from when it is introduced. 

Lorry drivers, seasonal farm workers, and coronavirus medics will be exempt. 

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The beach assistants will be picked from a list of people who are currently unemployed and were given the chance earlier this year to register for temporary public sector jobs as part of a regional government initiative.

Nearly 600,000 people are registered for seasonal work.

Mr Moreno said their responsibilities would include ‘guaranteeing the safety of beachgoers through surveillance and organising social distancing.’ They will also be tasked with controlling access and limiting the numbers of people on the busiest beaches.

Although they will not be given police powers, the regional government chief said they would be expected to inform police about incidents so officers could intervene if necessary.

Describing the beach assistants as a ‘huge army’, he added: ‘They will enable us to organise in a planned way the opening of our beaches this summer.’ Mr Moreno revealed his new plans for Spain’s southern beaches after the country’s PM Pedro Sanchez said foreign tourists would be welcomed back from July.

It comes as Coronavirus lockdown measures are being eased for people in Madrid and Barcelona from today, while elsewhere in Spain the first beaches are due to reopen.

Residents from the two cities are now allowed to meet up in groups of ten, in their homes or on restaurant and bar terraces. 

Mr Sanchez said in a live televised address on Saturday: ‘Spain receives more than 80 million visitors each year.

‘That’s why I’m announcing to you that from the month of July the entry of international tourism to Spain will restart in safety.

‘Foreign tourists can now start planning their holidays here.’ Earlier Juan Marin, vice-president of the Junta de Andalucia, said rapid Covid-19 tests on foreign tourists could be the way forward for the recovery of the International holiday market.

He told a Spanish radio station the country had to compete on a level playing field with competitor nations like Portugal and Italy, warning: ‘If we miss out this summer, we’ll be facing a frozen winter.’ 

Many Spanish town halls have already indicated social distancing through limits on the number of tourists who can enjoy their beaches, will be top of their list of priorities.

A woman practises yoga at dawn at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona

A woman practises yoga at dawn at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona

A woman practises yoga at dawn at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona

A police officer stands guard as a woman walks along La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona

A police officer stands guard as a woman walks along La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona

A police officer stands guard as a woman walks along La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona

People enjoy a night out on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga on May 23. Spain said it would let in foreign tourists and restart top league football in the coming weeks, accelerating Europe's exit from strict virus lockdown

People enjoy a night out on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga on May 23. Spain said it would let in foreign tourists and restart top league football in the coming weeks, accelerating Europe's exit from strict virus lockdown

People enjoy a night out on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga on May 23. Spain said it would let in foreign tourists and restart top league football in the coming weeks, accelerating Europe’s exit from strict virus lockdown

Police officers patrol as people enjoy a night out on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga on May 23

Police officers patrol as people enjoy a night out on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga on May 23

Police officers patrol as people enjoy a night out on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga on May 23

People enjoy a night out a restaurant on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga on May 23

People enjoy a night out a restaurant on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga on May 23

People enjoy a night out a restaurant on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga on May 23

People sit on the sand near a police cordon at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on May 24

People sit on the sand near a police cordon at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on May 24

People sit on the sand near a police cordon at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on May 24

The Costa del Sol resort of Fuengirola has said it will use artificial intelligence to control numbers.

Authorities in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava have said they intend to put different age groups in different areas of their beaches.

Travellers entering Spain are currently being forced to quarantine for 14 days but the order will be lifted when the country ends its current state of emergency at the end of June at the latest unless there is a dramatic change in the health situation.

People enjoy a night out on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga. The Costa del Sol resort of Fuengirola has said it will use artificial intelligence to control numbers

People enjoy a night out on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga. The Costa del Sol resort of Fuengirola has said it will use artificial intelligence to control numbers

People enjoy a night out on Pedregalejo Beach in Malaga. The Costa del Sol resort of Fuengirola has said it will use artificial intelligence to control numbers

People enjoy a night out on Pedregalejo Beach. Authorities in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava have said they intend to put different age groups in different areas of their beaches

People enjoy a night out on Pedregalejo Beach. Authorities in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava have said they intend to put different age groups in different areas of their beaches

People enjoy a night out on Pedregalejo Beach. Authorities in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava have said they intend to put different age groups in different areas of their beaches

A man sunbathes as people enjoy a morning out at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on May 24

A man sunbathes as people enjoy a morning out at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on May 24

A man sunbathes as people enjoy a morning out at La Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona on May 24

Benidorm mayor Toni Perez has added his voice to the chorus of concern over the British government’s quarantine rules.

Mr Perez spoke out after Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez said foreign holidaymakers would be welcomed back from July after its current quarantine rules on people arriving in the country are lifted.

His message was described as ‘very positive’ by influential Spanish tourist group Exceltur.

The mayor of British favourite Benidorm also welcomed Mr Sanchez’s comments, but admitted the UK quarantine was a concern.

Under plans announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday, anyone reaching the UK from June 8 will have to self-isolate for 14 days or risk POUNDS 1,000 fines. The new rules will apply to returning holidaymakers.

Tourists and locals returned to the bars and terraces in Benidorm. Benidorm mayor Toni Perez has added his voice to the chorus of concern over the British government's quarantine rules

Tourists and locals returned to the bars and terraces in Benidorm. Benidorm mayor Toni Perez has added his voice to the chorus of concern over the British government's quarantine rules

Tourists and locals returned to the bars and terraces in Benidorm. Benidorm mayor Toni Perez has added his voice to the chorus of concern over the British government’s quarantine rules

Ms Patel described the measures as ‘temporary’ but said they would be reviewed every three weeks, meaning any extension beyond the initial three-week period would make it impractical for most Britons to take a foreign break.

Spain is the top destination for British tourists, with around 18 million people from the UK visiting the country normally every year.

Benidorm – made even more famous by the hit ITV comedy series of the same name – has an area known as Little England.

British visitors to the resort outnumber every other nationality apart from the Spanish.

Four out of every ten of its holidaymakers come from the UK.

Mr Perez said: ‘Benidorm has been working for weeks now to make sure it is a safe resort this summer.

‘It’s not just important that Benidorm and Spain are safe destinations but also that the countries tourists come from are safe as well.

‘We’re keeping on a close eye on the evolution of the health situation in the neighbouring countries of France and Portugal.

‘But we’re also keeping a close eye on our most important market which is the UK and which is the country that is therefore of most concern to us.

‘The quarantine the British government has announced, which will be revised after three weeks and includes high fines for people who flout the rules, is causing a lot of uncertainty.

‘No-one knows how long it could last and that is having an effect on last-minute holiday reservations and cancellations and that is something that is worrying us.’ 

Yesterday influential Spanish tourist group Exceltur called on the Spanish government to give the UK priority in safe ‘air corridor’ negotiations designed to pave the way for a British return to the Costas this summer.

Exceltur’s vice-president Jose Luis Zoreda called the Spanish PM’s invitation to foreign holidaymakers to pick Spain from July ‘very positive.’ 

He said: ‘This kickstarts British and German tour operators because they now know they can operate in July if all goes well.’ 

Telling Catalan daily El Periodico that Britain, which accounted for more than 18 million of Spain’s foreign tourists last year, and Germany should be priority countries in ‘safe corridor’ negotiations, he added: ‘The speech Pedro Sanchez made was very positive because he committed to a date with enough time for potential tourists to book holidays here, and because of the message it sends that the Prime Minister of a country is welcoming back foreign visitors.

‘The common denominator will not be nationality but the corridors.’ 

Saying he thought it was unlikely EU-wide agreements on re-opening borders could be reached by July, he added: ‘We have to get going to establish these bilateral corridors and agreements.’ 

Tourists and locals returned to the bars and terraces in Benidorm. Yesterday influential Spanish tourist group Exceltur called on the Spanish government to give the UK priority in safe 'air corridor' negotiations designed to pave the way for a British return to the Costas this summer

Tourists and locals returned to the bars and terraces in Benidorm. Yesterday influential Spanish tourist group Exceltur called on the Spanish government to give the UK priority in safe 'air corridor' negotiations designed to pave the way for a British return to the Costas this summer

Tourists and locals returned to the bars and terraces in Benidorm. Yesterday influential Spanish tourist group Exceltur called on the Spanish government to give the UK priority in safe ‘air corridor’ negotiations designed to pave the way for a British return to the Costas this summer

Many Spanish town halls have already indicated social distancing through limits on the number of tourists who can enjoy their beaches, will be top of their list of priorities.

The Costa del Sol resort of Fuengirola has said it will use artificial intelligence to control numbers.

Authorities in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava have said they intend to put different age groups in different areas of their beaches.

Travellers entering Spain are currently being forced to quarantine for 14 days but the order will be lifted when the country ends its current state of emergency at the end of June at the latest, unless there is a dramatic change in the health situation.

Additional measures like temperature checks at airports for foreign tourists who jet to Spain in July are also being studied.

Juan Marin, vice-president of the Junta de Andalucia which is the regional government responsible for areas like the Brit-popular Costa del Sol, insisted on Sunday that rapid Covid-19 tests on foreign tourists could be the way forward for the recovery of the International holiday market.

He told a Spanish radio station the country had to compete on a level playing field with competitor nations like Portugal and Italy, warning: ‘If we miss out this summer, we’ll be facing a frozen winter.’ 

Teresa Ribera, one of the Spanish government’s vice-presidents, has said ‘safe corridors’ will ‘probably’ be applied along the same lines as peoples’ movements between regions as part of a national tourism scheme.

Source: Daily Mail – Articles

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