"The beaches, being public spaces, will also have to have the procedures and rules to be implemented for the safety of all and which obviously have to do with social distance", to prevent the spread of the disease pandemic caused by the new coronavirus, explained the national coordinator of the Blue Flag program of the Blue Flag Association of Europe (ABAE), Catarina Gonçalves, to Lusa.

The official said that a “manual of procedures on access to beaches” in Portugal is being prepared, a work that is being developed by several organizations, including the Portuguese Navy, the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), the Relief Institute for Castaways (ISN) and the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

This guide should be ready “in the first week of May”, stressed Catarina Gonçalves, and will incorporate the load capacity of each beach.

“We will have to evaluate the possibility and the way to calculate the load capacity of the beaches, that is, the beaches have a limit. The concession area of ??a beach is physically limited, that is, it has a dimension of extension and width, according to the high tide ”, she continued.

The ABAE coordinator explained that the maximum capacity of the beaches will take into account “the recommendations” of the DGS, namely, “what is the safe space for shades and umbrellas” and the distance between people.

“More practical questions that have to do with the cleaning of spaces, the use of masks, the very use of terraces and bars - whether it can be done or not and in what conditions if done -, the walkways, the showers , seagulls, slides, deckchairs, all of these will have to have much tighter hygiene procedures”, hse stressed.

However, Catarina Gonçalves said that on the beaches it is “much more complicated” to implement these measures, since “you cannot put a yellow ribbon” to define the space used by bathers.

For this reason, the inspection “will have to be different” and the responsible person expects that there will be “common sense” on the part of bathers to comply with the rules that will be established.

“We are very concerned with urban fronts, because they do not have an entrance and an exit from a beach. The entire promenade, for example, is a beach entrance, which makes inspection very difficult."