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Irish holiday makers face 'sunbed wars' as resorts implement social distancing rules

Irish Mirror logoIrish Mirror 21/05/2020 Andy Rudd
a person standing on top of a sandy beach: Health worker wearing protective mask spray disinfectant onto hotel's sun loungers © Johanes Christo/NurPhoto via Getty Images Health worker wearing protective mask spray disinfectant onto hotel's sun loungers

Irish holiday goers could face more challenges getting their hands on a sun bed as seas side resorts implement social distancing rules.

As holiday resorts across Europe gear up to reopen those hoping to grab a bit of sun are likely to have to fight it out like never before to get a sun bed.

Sun-starved Irish punters have been known to go to great lengths to secure a prime sun bed spot by the hotel pool.

Many wake at the crack of dawn to 'reserve' their sun lounger with a towel.

Failure to do this often means a mad stampede in some resorts after the breakfast rush.

This has lead to some hotels chaining up the chairs before releasing them at a set time every morning.

However, this still causes a mad frenzy and sometimes even fights among guests to grab a sun bed and then get the best spots by the pool.

But now due to the coronavirus and strict social distancing and hygiene rules the chances of getting your favourite spot have just been reduced dramatically.

In TUI resorts hotel staff will be placing sun loungers in designated spots and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

However, guests will not be allowed to move them and will have to sunbathe where the lounger is.

a group of people jumping in the air © Concello de Sanxenxo

Based on the 1.5 to 2 metre social distancing rule there will be reduced spaces around the main pool area.

Instead staff will be utilising other areas within the hotel grounds to locate sunbeds.

They will be cleaning down sun beds when guests vacate them ready for the next person to occupy them.

A spokesperson for TUI told Mirror.co.uk: "We determine specific positions for the sun lounges to ensure the required distances and disinfect before new guests occupy them.

"Sunbeds are positioned by staff and guests are not allowed to move them to other areas.

"Our staff is trained well and will inform our guests about the new procedures.

"In many hotels guests also have the opportunity to book spacious daybeds in advance, but this has been implemented before as an additional service (for a fee) and is not part of the current measures.

"We will use several areas of the resorts - pool, garden, beach - for the positioning of the sunbeds to provide a wide range of options."

In Spain incredible plans show how beaches will be divided into five different zones as the country prepares to welcome back tourists when coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted.

a person walking on a beach © Concello de Sanxenxo

Many beaches across Spain have created cordoned off sunbathing 'squares' for tourists with one region going even further by introducing designated zones for different ages and family groups.

The number of sunbathers on Spain's very best beaches could be reduced by as much as 90 per cent.

Proposals for Silgar beach in the northwest of Spain have been shared by the local council on Facebook.

The beach has been divided into five roped-off sections each with 780 spaces measuring 9sqm.

Each space will have a 1.5m gap between each one to ensure social distancing.

You'll have to stay in your square while on the beach and if you want to go for a walk and play games you will need to move to a different designated strip.

You'll also have to use another marked out strip if you need to use the toilet or other facilities.

To go for a dip in the sea you will need to follow a six-metre wide special passageway.

You won't be allowed to reserve your spot so they'll be no need for early morning towel battles with fellow tourists.

a person in a blue pool of water: A resort employee wearing a face mask against the spread of the novel coronavirus, cleans sun loungers by a pool © ELIZABETH RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images A resort employee wearing a face mask against the spread of the novel coronavirus, cleans sun loungers by a pool

Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava, is going one step further by dividing its beaches into three different age segments in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The two most popular beaches of Lloret and Fenals will be divided into sectors and have limited capacity and controlled access.

Each will have its own services, including extra helpers and lifeguards and bathrooms.

Three sections will be created - one for older people, one for families with children, and one for adults without children, such as couples or groups of friends.

The sector for the elderly will be for couples or individuals and have a double walkway to help with access and an assisted bathing service on request.

Mayor Jaume Dulsat said: "Following the guidelines set by WHO (World Health Organisation), the objective of the plan is to make Lloret de Mar the safest possible destination, fully prepared to receive visitors during the tourist season this summer and without leaving room for improvisation."

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