Coronavirus COVID-19

Ministry of Health recommends keeping strict social distancing and hygiene measures on beaches

News - 2020.5.24

In inland waters, such as river pools, backwaters and fresh water courses with little flow, people are advised not to bathe or use them for recreational purposes in the 2020 season.

The Ministry of Health has published a document with recommendations on opening beaches and bathing areas to the public. The risks associated with COVID-19 on beaches are related to the interaction between people.

The document, available on the web page of the Ministry of Health, states that no scientific information is available on the capacity of the virus to remain infectious in salt water; furthermore, salt has been identified as an effective biocide agent. In the case of sand, the joint action of salty seawater, solar ultraviolet radiation and the high temperatures that sand may reach are all favourable for the deactivation of pathogens.

In light of this, the document stresses the need for group awareness in respecting social distancing. Accordingly, it is advisable to limit areas for sea bathing which may become crowded. Access to bathing areas should be performed while practising social distancing, which should be reinforced by signage, and hygiene rules should be respected.

The distance between sunbeds, parasols and other items should be guaranteed. By way of illustration, the bases of parasols should be set up at least 4 metres apart. Beach managers may divide the area into sections to ensure social distancing.

For their part, those walking on the shore should respect the social distance of 2 metres.

Group sport is not advisable, nor the gathering of groups of more than 15 people or members of the same family or those that do not live together, nor the use of any beach facilities (play parks and sports installations).

Cleaning and disinfection

In order to prevent the transmission of the virus, users and workers should, as well as complying with social distancing measures, follow all the hygiene rules and apply the technical criteria on maintenance, cleaning and disinfection.

Sand in bathing areas should be cleaned each day, with special emphasis on removing organic and non-organic waste. It is not advisable to disinfect the sand on the beach.

In addition, beach facilities, such as showers, foot washes and rubbish bins should be cleaned and disinfected each day, as should surface areas, common areas and areas commonly walked on, such as wooden walkways, to avoid the spread of the disease.

Beach bars must follow all the protocols established for bars and restaurants. Closed spaces, such as Red Cross first aid posts, changing rooms and toilets should also be ventilated, cleaned and disinfected. In turn, sports facilities and play parks should be cleaned and disinfected before beaches are opened, and these areas may not be used until bathing is permitted.

Each beach must have a cleaning and disinfecting protocol established for facilities that may be used by bathers, such that the steps are indicated to follow by operators. Each local authority must also draw up or update the protocol with all the measures to prevent occupational hazards, in accordance with the action plan for services to prevent such hazards.

Non official translation