With rising temperatures and lifting of the swimming ban, Greeks flock to the beaches for a sunbath and a refreshing dive into the sea. But even if restrictions have been lifted, caution is due and avoid crowding on top of the agenda. “Keep safety distance at the beach” is the slogan of summer 2020.
This summer will be different, health experts warn. And it looks that next to our towel, swimming suit, sun-blocker and flip flops, we will also have to bring meter measure and disinfectant at the beach. One towel next to each other? Forget it! A distance of at least 3 meters is this summer’s must.
According to experts, swimming in the sea or in a chlorinated swimming pool is safe. “Nothing has been found of virus transmission there, nor can be theoretically said that there is a potential risk,” said emeritus professor of Pathology-Infectious Diseases at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Pavlos Nikolaidis. He added that it is extremely unlikely that someone catches the virus from the sand, as the main route of transmission of the virus is through the respiratory way.
He and every other health expert in Greece warn that the problem is the crowding and not keeping social distancing.
“If there are 20 sunbeds in 10 square meters, the risk is reasonable to increase through overcrowding, just as we mention from the beginning of the pandemic,” Nikolaidis said.
Organized beaches still remain closed, but municipality beaches have opened the season following the pandemic safety rules, even though the government has not officially issued any.
The Municipality of Glyfada in southern Athens already installed the sun umbrellas during the week at a distance of 10 meters from each other.
A total of 300 umbrellas were installed, half of those last year in order to comply with safety measures.
“Glyfada is preparing to welcome summer with distances and measures on the beach so that its citizens can be safe due to the coronavirus,” mayor Giorgos Papanikolaou posted on social media.
Municipality police is expected to patrol beaches to ensure that social distancing rules are been followed.
While the official state remains silent, an Environmental organization based on the island of Crete prepared a list of recommendations for swimmers and sunbathers.
According to Costa Nostrum, sunbeds should be placed at a distance of 3 meters to each other and be disinfected after use.
In the free part of the beach from sunbeds, it is recommended, that the ratio should be about 10 square meters per bather (child or adult).
Sunbathers should wait for 20 minutes before using a sunbed after the previous occupant has left.
It is recommended that shared showers be at least 15 meters away from the nearest bathers.
The use of any kind of indoor facilities that serve bathers, such as closed showers and locker rooms, should also be avoided.
It is recommended to avoid any kind of transaction with street vendors within the beach.
The set of measures advised by Costa Nostrum is for privately managed organized beaches by hotel units, for public organized and not organized beaches.
More on tourism in Greece during the pandemic read here.