Travel

Spain holidays: Swimming pools open after coronavirus lockdown rules are lifted


Swimming pools in Spain, which had been closed due to coronavirus, are open. However, there are new rules for those swimming.

Bathers must queue and keep as much as 9ft apart when swimming.

There will be strict social distancing rules when pools reopen in the European country.

These include lifeguards allowing people in one at a time, footprints to encourage distancing under the water and keeping as much as 9ft apart.

Although hotels have been allowed to open since May 11th, common areas still have to be sealed off and swimming is banned both in the pools and in the sea, although aquatic sports are allowed in specific zones.

With temperatures soaring in Spain, people are desperate to get back in the water and there have been thousands of fines for those who find the temptation too much and breach the rules.

Now, the Spanish government has told hotels and public pools, both inside and outside, to start making the preparations to officially reopen.

READ MORE: Spain holidays: FCO issue new warning for Britons with Spanish travel plans ahead

This is expected to be in the third phase of Spain’s coronavirus de-escalation plan expected some time in June.

In an 18-page report, the Ministry of Health says there is no evidence to suggest that coronavirus is spread in pools, hot tubs or spas because “good operation, maintenance and disinfection ie with chlorine and bromine” would kill the bacteria.

“The two main risks are interpersonal interactions without respecting the minimum safety distances and not performing adequate cleaning and disinfection of the surfaces of the common areas,” say health chiefs.

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Pool operators will have to carry out “exhaustive cleaning” before disinfecting everything, including showers, lockers, steel ladders, glass and ropes, paying extra special attention to door knobs and railings. There will be specific formulas for the water which must be maintained at all times to prevent the spread of the virus.

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Swimmers will have to stand at least 6ft apart in a queue before they get into the pool and have their shoes disinfected at the entrance.

They will need to shower before entering the pool and wash bathing suits and towels to eliminate all bacteria.

Backpacks, sun cream, flipflops etc must be kept away from other people.

Indoor pools have been told to keep their doors and windows open to ensure good ventilation.

In open pools, swimmers will need to be 6ft apart but this increases to 9ft in closed spaces and could be made even more if needed.

Earlier, the Spanish National Research Council had issued a report saying: “In recreational activities, SARS-CoV-2 infection by contact with water from standard bathing conditions is highly unlikely. However, these activities generally involve a loss of the recommended measures of social distancing.”

“In swimming pools and spas, the use of disinfecting agents is activated in order to avoid microbial contamination of the waters by the influx of users and this measure should be sufficient to inactivate the virus.”

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“Regarding seawater, although there are currently no data on the persistence of SARS-CoV-2, the dilution effect, as well as the presence of salt, are factors that probably contribute to a decrease in viral load and its inactivation by analogy to what happens with similar viruses.”

“However, the survival of SARS-CoV-2 in water from rivers, lakes, freshwater pools and untreated is superior compared to swimming pools and salt water and therefore, precautionary measures should be extreme to avoid agglomerations.”

“Other factors that may be of concern are the prevalence of the virus in the sand present on beaches or banks. Although there are no experimental studies in this regard, the joint action of seawater salt, solar ultraviolet radiation and the high temperature that can reach the sand are favourable for the inactivation of pathogens.”

“Emphasis is also placed on any form of disinfection of beach sand, it must be respectful with the environment and its disinfection is not recommended with the usual procedures for urban public spaces.”

The FCO has issued new Spain rules for Britons

Yesterday, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a new warning to Britons.

Late Thursday night, the FCO issued the latest travel advice for Spain.

“From 15 May, all new international arrivals entering Spain, including Spanish nationals and residents, will be required to self-isolate in their residence or hotel for a period of 14 days,” explained the FCO.

“Movement will be limited to essential trips to supermarkets or pharmacies and those affected will be required to wear a facemask at all times in public.

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“They should be contactable by authorities and should report any coronavirus symptoms to regional authorities.“Cross-border workers, cabin crew, lorry drivers and healthcare workers are exempt from this measure.”

Additonal reporting by Rita Sobot.



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