AN Italian company believes it has come up with a way to ensure its country’s beaches can open for the summer season. 

Nuova Neon Group is developing several products which can be installed and used in the tourism sector to bring a new level of safety in the age of COVID-19.

Among them are transparent Plexiglas cubicles which can be installed around sunbeds and parasols on the beaches.

Beach Glass
The plexiglass walls patented by Italian company Nuova (CREDIT: Nuova Neon Group)

Measuring two metres high and four-and-a-half metres across, they have already been tested on a beach in the Romagna Riviera.

“In our opinion, it can work,” Nuova CEO Claudi Ferrari told the La Reppublica newspaper, “The idea was born with dual purpose of protecting but also restarting certain activities.”

If approved, the cubicles would be used alongside other strict measures, including the use of face masks, social distancing and sanitising gels.

Ferrari added that his company was also creating similar screens for pharmacies and banks so that commercial activities can resume quicker.

He also suggested installing them between tables at restaurants.

But when it comes to the beach problem, others remain less convinced.

Beach Glass 2
Critics say the cubicles will be too punishing in the summer heat (CREDIT: Nuova Neon Group)

Fabrizio Licderse, president of a tourism association called Assobalneari, said: “Who would go to the beach to be in a plastic box in 35C? The beach is for being free.”

Licderse believes it would make more sense to simply reduce the number of beds and have them much further apart.

“The same could be done in restaurants and bars, and make everyone queue like they do now for the supermarket,” he said.

What about Spain?

While it has no similar designs as of yet, Spain has made it clear that social distancing norms will likely continue into the summer, and will affect its beaches.

Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said officials were studying various options so that the country can ‘enjoy its beaches’ in the high season.

“We are going to have to internalise everything we are doing right now, including washing our hands and social distancing… even at the beaches.

“These measures will now be part of our day to day for some time, we cannot go back.”

He added that until a vaccine or cure arrives, nothing will be as it was before.

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