Tourists are fined and their sun loungers are taken away on the Costa del Sol in a crackdown on booking beach spots in the era of the corona virus.
With summer holidays resuming in Spain, families and couples have arrived early to ‘park’ their towels and sunbeds before returning to the place hours later.
However, police and lifeguards have been called in to remove them and are taking over dozens of folding chairs, tables and even an inflatable boat after complaints from other tourists – who are rejected because there is ‘no more space’ under the corona virus rules.
Local authorities warn that they will continue to fine “irresponsible” sun worshipers who say they ruin it for others.
Crackdown: Folding sunbeds are taken away by Costa del SO authorities after tourists complained that tourists who reserved places kept others from getting on the beach
Padded: A selection of sunbeds and other beach accessories are carried away in the back of a local police van in Torrox
Torrox near Marbella on the Costa del Sol has already increased its fines and handed out more this season than last summer, even though the beaches reopened just a few weeks ago after Spain’s emergency was lifted on June 21.
Torrox is one of the most popular beach destinations along the Malaga coast, but space had to be limited to maintain social distance rules.
The rules are less strict than in some areas where more stringent measures have been imposed, notably by defining sunbathing with ropes or chalk.
Other resorts have a strict system where people have to use a phone app to book their places.
A statement from the municipality of Torrox warned: ‘May we remind all users of our beaches that space reservations are NOT allowed.
The local police coordinate and monitor compliance with this rule and continue to collect beach items that reserve space, “the statement said.
“This year, we’re adding the Covid-19 issue as an additional reason for being responsible and not leaving behind the items that occupy a space that can be used by other users due to capacity and distance.
‘Walking, eating at the beach bar or a nearby establishment is possible and then the police are informed and no action is taken.
“The goods are removed when they are found to have gone home and often take hours to return after a nap.”
“Today was in Playa Ferrara, but it will take action in everyone else in the municipality.”
This chart shows the daily number of new cases of coronavirus in Spain. According to the Ministry of Health, there were 255,953 cases and 28,406 deaths
Authorities take away three beach chairs on the beach in Spain, where coronavirus rules only allow a limited number of people to go to the beach
A masked police officer makes a note standing in front of several sun loungers and an inflatable boat left unoccupied on the coast
Other beach users have labeled the behavior as ‘very unkind’ and suggest that the municipality set a time limit on the beach, possibly only two hours.
One of them said, “We see this every day. These people don’t disappear to the beach bar. They go home to eat or take a nap and then come back at 6:00 PM. ‘
Another reported: “It is time for people to become more aware. It is not correct that spaces are occupied by umbrellas and chairs, but not people. ‘
A local woman said she applauds the council for taking action, adding, “The same thing happened in Torre del Mar (Malaga).”
And another said, “It’s pathetic and disrespectful to tourists.”
The municipality of Torrox has already imposed more than 100 fines and removed beach items that have been put in their municipal store.
The owners can only collect their belongings by showing up in person and paying the fine.
While most agree with the council’s position, others point out that the perpetrators “don’t care” about losing their cheap umbrellas or chairs and can simply buy more.
Some parts of Spain have been re-imprisoned and more than 70 corona virus clusters have now been identified, raising fears of further constraints.
Officials have linked the latest outbreaks to the movement of seasonal workers traveling through Spain to harvest fruits and vegetables.
The crackdown comes when councilors in Magaluf warn that British tourists who misbehave in the party resort will be punished.
Three British pummels were filmed jumping up and down on a parked car in the party strip of Punta Ballena in the early hours of last Friday morning as revelers spurred them on with football chants.
One of the holidaymakers was arrested when it was found that nearly £ 2,000 damage had been done to the vehicle.
Torrox is one of the most popular beach destinations along the Malaga coast, but space had to be limited to enforce social distance rules
Beach users have labeled the behavior as ‘very open-minded’ and suggest that the municipality set a time limit on the beach, possibly only two hours
Police officers and lifeguards are called in to remove belongings and seize dozens of folding chairs after complaints from other tourists
Local police say they will be “uncompromising” when it comes to ensuring that earlier closing times and strict restrictions on the number of people in entertainment venues and bar terraces are observed.
Today, the deputy mayor of Calvia Council, who is dealing with Magaluf, said that badly behaved tourists should bear the full consequences of the law.
Nati Frances, whose political task includes the responsibility for the local police in the town hall, said: “Of course we want tourists to come, but not to misbehave like they used to.
“We want vacationers to enjoy the nightlife, but not an alcohol theme.”
Referring to images of tourists hopping up and down on a parked car, she told island newspaper Diario de Mallorca: “Those images worry us because they are irresponsible at times like this.
“But it was something very specific. They do not reflect what happened the next day. ‘
Locals fear that the problem will get worse in the coming weeks as more bars reopen and the number of British holidaymakers flying into the area grows.
A man danced on the roof of a car (left) while others flood the street on the party strip (right)
British tourists came to Spain’s famous Magaluf party strip to enjoy the start of their holiday
Heads of Magaluf town hall earlier this year predicted that the coronavirus crisis could sound the death knell for the alcohol-fueled tourism attempting to kill the party resort.
But Spain urgently needs tourism to revive its economy, and the number of British holidaymakers flying to Spain has been growing since June 21, when they were allowed to enter for the first time in three months.
Costa holidaymakers got a boost last Friday after the quarantine was canceled for people arriving at English airports from Spain.
Balearic tourism minister Iago Negueruela has said that his government would be ‘particularly vigilant’ to monitor the decree designed to ban drunken tourism.
This includes balcony jumping fines and bans on drink cruises and drink offers such as happy hours.
The minister said the local authorities would do everything to ensure that the type of tourist they want to keep away from party resorts such as Magaluf “does not have the opportunity to come to our islands.”
Mr. Negueruela was critical of Britain’s response to the coronavirus crisis and accused him of being too slow in closing measures earlier this year when Boris Johnson was still talking about pursuing his so-called ‘herd immunity’ plan .
The government of the Balearic Islands has already made its first efforts to attract holidaymakers from Germany as part of a pilot plan for foreign tourism.