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Barcelona considers taking 'a step back' with beaches if crowding continues

Top epidemiologist concerned about first day: "This cannot go on by any means"


21 May 2020 11:34 AM



Barcelona's local government will consider taking "a step back" in terms of opening beaches if the crowds seen on Wednesday, the first day walks on the sand were allowed, continue.

The local climate emergency councilor, Eloi Badia, suggested on Wednesday evening restrictions could be once tightened again: "If we see that the desire to enjoy the beach, which is in our Mediterranean DNA, is stronger than the regulations, we will have to take a step back."

Yet, Badia said he is certain this will not be needed. "In general, the people of Barcelona quickly understand rules, and we are sure we will be able to revert this situation," he said concerning the crowds seen the first day beaches were opened during the 6 to 10 am time slot, which is for people aged 14-70.

The busiest seafronts were the Sant Miquel, Sant Sebastià and Barceloneta beaches, where, according to Badia, at times it was hard to maintain the safety distance.

According to the city council, some 2,000 people had walked or done exercise by the sea, which is between 7% and 10% of the usual figures.

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau also appealed to the responsibility of residents to be able to continue to allow people to take walks on the beach, calling on them to not form crowds. 

Crowds at beaches could lead to new transmissions

One of Catalonia’s top epidemiologists, Antoni Trilla, expressed concern at some images of the first day at beaches on Catalunya Ràdio station: “This cannot go on by any means.” 

He said that “crowds” and people “not respecting rules” were seen, and said this kind of situation can lead to new transmissions. 

He called on the public to be “cautious” and become aware of the situation eyeing summer. “We need to get used to it,” added the head of Clínic Hospital’s epidemiology unit. 

Sunbathing not allowed after U-turn

Catalan News witnessed crowds in Sant Sebastià’s beach during the 6-10 am time slot, and scores of people walking, doing exercise, bathing and also sunbathing. 

The city council had banned lying on the sand after originally having said the opposite – but in the end, as Catalan News could observe, sunbathers were not removed by the police. 


  • Local police speaking to people at a Barcelona beach on May 20 (by Miquel Codolar)

  • Local police speaking to people at a Barcelona beach on May 20 (by Miquel Codolar)