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Plenty of people but fewer large crowds on beaches Saturday morning

Barcelona city council is considering reversing its decision to allow strolls while maintaining sunbathing is not allowed


23 May 2020 11:30 AM


ACN | Barcelona

The Barcelona city council will be keeping a close eye on what images emerge from the Catalan capital’s beaches this morning as they consider reversing their decision to allow people to go for leisurely walks on the beaches

On Tuesday, the local authorities announced that from Wednesday, people would be able to go for strolls, but images of large crowds of people gathering in close proximity had councilors worried about the possibility of fresh Covid-19 infections. 

Saturday morning, however, saw plenty of people flock to the beach but generally less crowding overall than on the first day that strolls were permitted. 

Local police intervened on occasion in large conglomerations of smaller groups of people sunbathing at times, but overall there were more sunbathers than police to disperse them. 

The car park at the Mar Bella beach was closed for sure on Saturday morning to avoid further crowding. Under the current rules, people are not allowed to drive to the beach, only walk or cycle. The public is only allowed to go for walks within 1km of their home, but exercise can be down within the limits of their town.

People are only allowed to walk or exercise on the beach between the permitted time slots of 6-10 am for most of the population. Elderly and vulnerable people may use the beaches between 10-12, while 12-7 pm is reserved for families with children. 

Bathing confusion

Initially, the city council caused confusion when it was first reported that police would not prevent people from sunbathing. However, hours later, authorities affirmed the opposite, that no lying and relaxing would be allowed, but only walks and exercise. 

On Wednesday morning, many people were seen sunbathing and relaxing regardless. The council has since reiterated its position that this is not permitted, but even on Saturday morning, police were largely left people to sunbathe and relax on the sand. 

Crowding “cannot go on” 

One of Catalonia’s top epidemiologists, Antoni Trilla, also expressed concern at the images of crowding seen on Wednesday morning, saying “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.


  • Barceloneta beach on the first weekend morning that people were allowed to go for strolls on the sand (by Cillian Shields)

  • Barceloneta beach on the first weekend morning that people were allowed to go for strolls on the sand (by Cillian Shields)