Police in coastal municipalities across Malaga province had to stop access to 29 beaches at various points on Sunday when the capacity outlined in the local councils' contingency plans to combat the coronavirus was exceeded.
As temperatures soared on the first Sunday of July, 55 beaches across the region as a whole saw restrictions imposed at some point, according to official data from the Junta de Andalucía. Malaga led the ranking with 29, followed by Cadiz (14), Huelva (9), Almeria (2) and Granada (1).
The avalanche of people returning from the beaches also created tailbacks of up to 18 kilometres at Las Pedrizas and on the A-7 in the western and eastern parts of the city during rush hour.
In Benalmádena, at peak times (around 12.30 and 4.30pm) access was limited at Torre Muelle, Fuente de la Salud, La Morera, Viborilla and Torre Vigia, according to sources consulted.
Five beaches also reached one hundred per cent in Nerja (Calahonda, Caletilla, Carabeo, Carabeillo and Maro), while there were warnings of high occupancy rates at peak times in Torremolinos, Rincón de la Victoria and Marbella but no reported closures.
In the case of Malaga city, the beaches at Baños del Carmen and the one near the Astilleros Nereo shipping yard people were turned away or made to wait for a period of time during a period of around three hours in the early afternoon.
Also in Malaga, there were also warnings of high occupation on Guadalmar, Sacaba and Misericordia beaches.
Use of technology
David Domínguez, one of the new beach monitors hired to enforce capacity control around Baños del Carmen, explained that not everyone took the news well. He explained that access to the beach was closed at around 1.15pm and did not reopen until 4.15pm, when many swimmers left. During all this time, Local Police regulated access and the monitors were responsible for redirecting bathers to other less-crowded beaches nearby. "It's a nuisance for people, but almost everyone understood it," he said.
The decision to close a specific beach is taken at the 112 control centre after analysing the information that these monitors, hired by the Junta, provide. They work with a mobile application in which they log all incidents. When they consider that there is overcrowding, they take a photo and send it to the control centre, which is responsible for coordinating action with the Local Police.