SOCIAL media has been awash this week with images of UK beaches and other tourist spots seemingly packed with people breaching social distancing guidelines.

But in one Costa Blanca resort, there’s a distinct lack of eagerness to rush to the shores, despite the hotter weather.

The Olive Press spoke to Guardamar del Segura’s beach councillor Silvestre Garcia Barbera and foreign citizen councillor Maria Venerdi.

Both said that the need to save tourism and keep COVID-19 incidence low has likely inspired people to take extra precautions.

“All of Costa Blanca and so much of Spain depends on tourism, we need to salvage what we can of the 2020 summer season,” said Venerdi.

In pictures taken yesterday, hardly anyone could be seen on Guardamar beach, despite it being open.

The Olive Press was told the public are responding well to rules so far, asking Policia Local and Cruz Roja for advice whenever they are unsure.

Notably, the resort was the first of the four Vega Baja coastal towns to open its beaches when Phase 2 of de-escalation started on June 1.

However the town had very little notice to design, publish and implement its own decalogo, or Ten Commandments.

Guardmar Phase 2 Sign
GUARDAMAR’S DECALOGUE: Some restrictions may continue after pandemic

Barbera said he’d only received final guidelines for social distancing regulations from the Valencian government on May 27.

He revealed that guidelines were changing almost daily, along with worldwide understanding and advice.

However, readiness was guaranteed by the forward thinking of the town’s Beach Management Commission, made up of police, town hall, Spanish Red Cross and other local municipal bodies.

Silvestre Garcia Barbera Maria Venerdi
PROUD: Silvestre García Barberá and Maria Venerdi

Barbera continued: “We were ready for Phase 2, and we’ll be just as ready for Phase 3 whenever it comes and whatever form it takes.”

The general feeling from councillors is that the population respects the rules and the overall consensus is that ‘we HAVE to get through this,’ said Venerdi, adding: “I am very proud of the people and I hope it continues.”

As a council, Guardamar is confident that a summer season will come along, but as both councillors agreed, ‘it’s up to the people to respect the rules.’

Guardmar Beach Climbing Frame
OUT OF BOUNDS: Play equipment taped off at Guardamar beach

Interestingly, some of the resort’s ‘Ten Commandments’ for Guardamar Beach will stay in place, long after the Coronavirus pandemic is over.

Buffer zones between the sea and bathers will be upheld, smoking will not be allowed, waste disposal will be strictly policed and other beach protocols will be reinforced.

Venerdi agreed that it’s only appropriate to have a common-sense ‘legacy’ after everyone has worked so hard and sacrificed so much throughout the pandemic.

READ MORE: Only one of four Vega Baja towns opens its beaches despite Murcia region moving into Phase 2 of Spain’s de-escalation

READ MORE: 11 more beaches to open on Spain’s Costa Blanca from next week

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