Drones with cameras, the Spanish beaches will adapt to the virus

Des drones aux caméras, les plages espagnoles s'adaptent au virus

Lloret de Mar | A drone flies over the beach of Lloret de Mar, where cords delineate now reserved spaces for different ages. The pandemic is under control in Spain, but the seaside resorts are preparing to coexist with the virus throughout the summer.

“It comes to balancing comfort and relaxation while residing in a safe environment,” explains Jaume Dulset, the mayor of this town of 37,000 inhabitants, 70 kilometres north-east of Barcelona.

While Spain has been one of the countries most affected by the pandemic, with more than 28 300 deaths, this resort of the Costa Brava wants to reassure the tourists, who may come back since the re-opening of the borders last Sunday.

The main beaches of LLoret, usually filled in the summer, were divided by age groups. Cameras feature sensors detect the level of occupancy of each zone that users can check on an application.

The municipal staff was strengthened in order to combat any inappropriate behaviour. A drone is responsible for detecting the gatherings and encourage summer visitors, via a pre-recorded message, to maintain the safety distances…

A system has even been designed to be able to reserve their space on the beach, but has not yet been put into service.

“As long as we need to do it”, fun to say the mayor of Lloret de Mar, resort usually popular with the French and the British.

“Yet very few people”

Because if the sun is already burning, only a handful of bathers were installed lounge chairs and towels on the main beach, which can accommodate about 15,000 people.

“Normally, it is already full (at this time). There is still very little world, and it is easy to keep its distance,” explains José Maria Quicio, a retired 78-year-old, who came with his wife Olga Ferrer, 81 years of age.

The couple has put their folding chairs a few meters from the shore, near the strings red, delimiting the space reserved for more than 70 years. “This is our area”, says Olga, who is just going to soak in the water. “It makes us feel more safe, it is very good, better than before”, she insists.

Fifty yards, stands the position of the first aider, who, despite the heat, wearing a cloth mask under his sunglasses. This summer, he will also have to ensure that distances are well-respected and sanitize frequently to the toilet and first aid facilities.

“Our main objective is that no one drowns. But we must also attend to the rest” task”, explains the coordinator of the emergency, Joel da Silva.

The municipal plan also provides for measures in restaurants, hotels or nightclubs, and has even financed the training in food safety and hygiene of 8500 employees.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty, but (…) we are ready to welcome tourists, we are waiting with open arms, we hope to save the season,” acknowledged the mayor.

Booking on an application

As Lloret, many municipalities of the Spanish coastline, which has almost 8,000 kilometers of coastline, have developed strategies to avoid the crowds on their beaches very popular with the Spanish as holidaymakers from the north of Europe.

The measures are many and varied: the control of the occupation of the beach by the sensors to the closure of access in case of exceeding licensed capacity, through the prohibition of games that occupy a lot of space or disinfection of sun loungers and parasols.

“The way we’ll be able to go to the beach this summer has changed, but this does not mean that we are not going to enjoy it,” says in a promotional video for the town hall of Benidorm, the destination of the south is Spanish language very popular among the British.

The two main beaches have been divided into plots of four square meters that the bathers will have to book through an application.

The system, however, is not yet necessary, because of the low influx of visitors in the city of 67,000 inhabitants that, in 2019, has registered 16 million hotel nights.

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