Many Britons may have rejoiced when Boris Johnson announced that UK favourite hotspot Spain was among the countries given the green light for quarantine-free travel. However, pictures show that the holiday experience in the country could be far from the one left behind last summer.
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Now, visitors who hope to soak up the sun on some of Spain’s most popular beaches may have a long wait ahead.
Beaches are now limited to a certain number of visitors, with parties spaced out and asked to stick to the country’s current 2.5-metre social distancing rule specific to beaches.
As temperatures heated up and lockdown relaxed, images of long line ups at beaches have shown the impact the situation could have on holidaymakers.
Scenes of eager sunbathers waiting in the sweltering heat, and spaced out visitors trying to make the most of their allotted beach time, were seen at both Riazor beach in the A Coruña region.
Riazor beach has reportedly installed a traffic light system, which either allows or denies people from entry.
For those who want to avoid the queues, an online tool has been set up by the local authorities to advise on the number of visitors currently at the beach.
Around 29 beaches in popular tourist regions Malaga, Costa del Sol reached capacity at the same time thousands of Britons were told that they could now go ahead with their holiday plans.
In Andalusia 26 more beaches restricted access.
Overall, last week around 55 beaches were shut down altogether by authorities due to overcrowding.
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Face masks also threaten to reshape the holiday experience, with some regions demanding masks are worn in public at all time.
“In general, the use of face masks is obligatory to anyone over the age of six years old in all public spaces in Spain, where it is not possible to maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres,” advised the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
“However, the rules around the use of face masks may vary from one region to the next, and in some parts of Spain may be mandatory even when social distancing is observed.
“You should refer to local authorities for information on face mask requirements where you are.
“Those with respiratory problems or those unable to wear a mask due to other health conditions or disabilities are exempt from this rule.”
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Holidaymakers also face fines if they break any of the social distancing rules Spain has put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Fines range from €200 (£180) up to €3,000 (£2,700).
The rules are in place on beaches, for those who break the 2.5-metre rule or flout personal hygiene expectations.
Vistors to restaurants and bars must wait to be seated outside and disinfect hands before entering the establishment.
Some eateries might ask people to sit outside in terraced areas, rather than allow them inside.
Social distancing must also be maintained on public transport, with masks worn at all times when onboard.
When in public spaces, along with wearing a mask, people should aim to maintain a distance of two metres from others when possible.
Additionally, some streets also have markings on the ground to instruct of a one-way system.
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