You might need a reservation for the beach this summer

(CNN) – You reserve at restaurants. But what about booking in advance just to get a spot on the sand on the beach?

That's exactly what some beach travelers will have to do in Spain this summer, thanks to the coronavirus crisis.


Canet d '# Berenguer, a Mediterranean town just north of Valencia, will only allow 5,000 sunbeds daily on its local beach, about half the usual number, to maintain social distance.

These areas must be booked in advance via a mobile phone app.

"This summer will be very different," Pere Joan Antoni Chordá, the city's mayor, told CNN. "There's more space between your neighbor. Like a business class beach."


Canet will use a grid pattern to divide the wide, flat beach into square sections, each separated by two meters (six feet).

The sections should be delimited by laying a series of yarns on the sand that look like large soccer nets to accommodate larger groups of sunbeds.


Beach goers will be allowed to book a sunbathing morning or afternoon, but not all day.

According to the mayor, loungers can reserve all available areas, much like choosing seats online at a movie theater, and arrival times will be postponed to avoid crowds.

Beach crowd control


The sun to the main beach of the Spanish city of Sanxenxo will be awarded places on a "first come, first served" basis.


Courtesy of Diario de Arousa

Access to the beach should also be reduced.

When they arrive and confirm their reservation with the staff, beach goers will be directed to their assigned section.

Antoni considers advance reservations and postponed arrival time as an important step.

"I wouldn't be able to control the flow of people [without the new measures]. They would be together and pollute each other, he explains.

The Canet de Berenguer is not the only Spanish city that chooses to restrict beach access this summer.

This rendition shows how the authorities plan to repeat zones to keep people at a safe distance from one another.

This rendition shows how the authorities plan to repeat zones to keep people at a safe distance from one another.

Sanxenxo City Hall

Over in Galicia, on the Atlantic, Sanxenxo will only allow sunflower entrances on a "first come, first served" basis.

However, Mayor Telmo Martin says he is not worried about crowds forming at the beach access points.

"Tourism is 80% of our economy," Martin told CNN. "We need to come up with solutions to make our people feel safe, from a health standpoint. I ask for responsibility from everyone."

Sanxenxo, located just an hour's drive north of the Portuguese border, aims to allow a maximum of 75% of its normal beach travelers.

The city, one of Northern Spain's largest tourist destinations, also chooses a grid pattern of sections for sunbeds with at least 1.5 meters between them, on the main beach.

In addition, wooden posts with wires attached to form small squares for just a few sunbeds, or larger for a larger group, will be added, according to Martin.

City workers should control beach access and accompany bathers to each section.

Beach travelers here, however, will no longer be able to stay somewhere all day just by laying towels on it.

If they go for lunch, they lose the place to others, says Martin.

Assigned sunbathing areas

This rendition shows how authorities want to distribute yarn in the Canet de Berenguer.

This rendition shows how authorities want to distribute yarn in the Canet de Berenguer.

Canet the Berenguer town hall

Both cities plan to clean the beaches more often than in previous summers, with Canet lifting the thick nights of the sand each morning to allow cleaning machines to come through.

Over in Sanxenxo, the cleaners will simply drive through the rows of wooden posts, like a tractor through vineyards. The public bathrooms and shower areas will also be disinfected regularly.

While both cities hope to open their beaches in June, any confirmed dates will eventually depend on the peel-off from Spain's state of emergency, which has been in effect since March 14.

The Spanish government has just begun to slowly lift the strict restrictions in the home, but any further changes are dependent on low infection rates in certain territories that officials say must have hospitals equipped and ready to deal with a potential second wave of coronavirus.

"It's new to all of us," said Martin, a member of the Conservative Popular Party, who has been mayor of Sanxenxo for a total of eight years across two parliamentary terms.

"People are already telling me they want even more space on the beach," says Canets Antoni Chordá, a member of the Socialist Party who was elected mayor just eight months ago.

Canet has budgeted 500,000 euros ($ 542,000) for its special beach plan this summer, while Sanxenxo will include its special plan within the budget of 3.5 million euros ($ 3.8 million) for summer activities, say the mayors.

Both cities have less permanent populations that quadruple in the summer, when part-time residents flock to their vacation homes, and tourists who either pass or live in hotels in the city hit the beaches.

Reservations or not, the summer in these two cities will be a test of whether beachgoers can live in their assigned areas and largely stay away from others, both mayors say.

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