Brits in Benidorm forced to wear masks on the beach or face £90 fines

BRITS holidaying in Benidorm this year will be made to wear face masks when they stroll along the shoreline, or face fines of €100 (£90).

Benidorm mayor Toni Perez said the resort would be enforcing government legislation making the masks obligatory in public spaces where social distancing cannot be guaranteed – which is likely to be in place until there is a vaccine.

Mr Perez is believed to be the first Spanish mayor who has warned that the mandatory use of face masks along the beach will be policed.

Police are to take a tougher approach and start fining people further into the summer in areas like Costa resorts when more people are around, if tourists continue to flout the rules.

Sunbathers will be able to remove their masks once in the designated squares allocated on the beach, however.

Under the new rules, Benidorm holidaymakers not opting for a beach bar sun-bed will have to stay within one of 5,000 13 x 13ft squares marked out on its famous Poniente and Levante beaches – colour-coded blue for general use or red for the over-70s who have been allocated particular areas.

The social distancing rules mean that in the busier Costa destinations where tourists and locals will inevitably find themselves close to each other, face masks will have to be worn by holidaymakers heading to the beach in those resorts as well.

Other rules being introduced in Benidorm, Mr Perez announced, would be allowing only kids under the age of 10to stay in a 20-ft wide strip between the shoreline and front-line sunbathers – meaning anyone older than that can only walk through the zone.

The famous Costa Blanca resort will see its maximum capacity rise from just over 25,000 people to around 33,000.

The move comes after the closure of several beaches in other parts of Spain at the weekend which have not designed a pre-booking system like Benidorm.

Benidorm’s pre-booking system is expected to be up and running by mid-July when more British tourists arrive.

Mr Perez said during an online press conference: “From today beach users can only stroll along the 20ft (six metre) strip between the shoreline and the area where sunbathers can stay, making sure they keep social distancing of five feet (1.5. metres) and with the obligatory use of face masks, in line with the government decree approved earlier this month.”

In a boost to beachgoers who have been banned from playing ball games on other Costa beaches, he added: “The practice of sports in areas which are normally provided on a permanent basis for beach volley and football will be allowed.“

All types of games outside of those areas will be prohibited in line with state rules.”

Brits arriving back in Spain after the coronavirus lockdown have been welcomed by 37C heat. 

The country reopened its borders to tourists last weekend, with new arrivals no longer facing a 14-day quarantine.

Sunbathing Brits are being warned to take extra care, with hot air moving north from Africa set to push temperatures in parts as high as 40C throughout the week.

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