Beach preparations under way on the Costa del Sol for a summer with fewer restrictions

Rincón de la Victoria, Estepona, Vélez-Málaga, Marbella and Fuengirola councils have applied for extra sand on those that suffered storm damage.

All hopes for economic recovery are being focused on the forthcoming summer season and town councils are rushing to get their beaches ready for the imminent arrival of visitors from elsewhere in Spain and abroad. Everyone is hoping that things will be as close as possible to the way they were before the coronavirus pandemic. 

Information

Drones. Mijas will be using lifesaving drones to monitor its beaches again this summer.

Lifeguard service. About 200 lifeguards have been contracted in the province this year.

Application. Rincón de la Victoria has a mobile phone app to control the numbers of people on beaches and will analyse the sand regularly

The Junta de Andalucía was the first administration to indicate a return to normality, back in April, when it decided not to contract anti-Covid monitors this year, on the basis that as people are now well aware of the rules nobody is needed to enforce them. 

Even so, some councils such as Estepona have said they will be putting up signs as reminders, and in Rincón de la Victoria councillor Sergio Díaz says there will be monitors on the beaches to inform people about the anti-Covid measures. 

All the councils are repeating the same extra hygiene and disinfecting precautions as last year, such as increased cleaning in the lavatories, showers and access ramps. In Estepona, for example, sources at the town hall say the toilet modules will be open between midday and 8pm and will be cleaned four times a day. 

Three municipalities in particular stand out for their Covid precautions. Rincón de la Victoria has an app to control the number of people on its beaches, will analyse the sand and water quality regularly, and has contracted ‘scum-skimmer’ boats. 

Vélez-Málaga will once again mark out squares on its main beaches to help people respect social distancing. 

Also, on 8 May Marbella council announced that when the state of alarm came to an end the following day, a local decree would come into effect under which all its beaches will be closed between midnight and 6am. This was to stop people heading for the beaches to party after the bars have closed. 

That announcement coincided with the start of the lifeguard service at weekends, from 11am to 6.30pm. There will be 21 of them in Marbella, monitoring 15 of the beaches, until the start of the peak season when a full service will be provided. This year there will be over 40 lifeguards in total. 

In general, the lifeguard service will start all along the Malaga coast on 15 June. There will be 23 lifeguards in Estepona, 30 in Rincón de la Victoria, about 20 in Torrox and 73 in Mijas.

Mijas council will also be using lifesaving drones. They introduced these last year to control the number of people on the beaches, and this summer there will be larger ones with the ability to carry inflatable lifejackets. 

Preparations

Apart from the Covid-19 precautions, beach maintenance will also be stepped up as usual during this summer season, with cleaning being carried out early in the morning or at night to minimise inconvenience to beach users. 

Several town halls have requested assistance from the Coastal Authority in preparing their beaches. Fuengirola has applied for a regeneration plan because storms have damaged the lifeguard towers and buried shower trays and wooden and concrete walkways under sand in many places. In the meantime, council workers are using equipment to move heavy elements. 

Marbella approved a similar request at the council meeting in April, when the Partido Popular proposed that the projects to stabilise the beaches and bring more sand to certain places should be facilitated. As a result, on 5 May a proposal to provide 200,000 cubic metres of sand to the area between La Venús beach and Punta Ancón was put on public display. 

Estepona has also applied for sand for six of its beaches, including those which suffered serious damage at El Padrón and El Ángel. 

In La Axarquía, the areas which were worst affected by the storms were Los Rubios in Torre de Benagalbón and a stretch of coast close to Arroyo Granadillas, in Rincón de la Victoria, while in Vélez-Málaga the council has applied for help to prepare the beaches at Torre del Mar, Chilches, Valle-Niza and La Caleta de Vélez, and Torrox has done the same for El Peñoncillo. 

Meanwhile, on the western coast, Mijas is still waiting for its application for 15,000 cubic metres of sand to be approved. Sources at the Coastal Authority say that normally action is taken when beaches suffer damage from bad weather and do not regenerate naturally.

Published by Joaquina Dueñas in Sur in English

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