Solutions sought as respect for lockdown rules starts to wane

People without masks, exercising together and ignoring social distancing rules in Malaga.
People without masks, exercising together and ignoring social distancing rules in Malaga. / Salvador Salas
  • Families and friends walking together, teenagers congregating in groups and cyclists failing to keep distance from others are the main offenders

It's 8pm on the seafront in Malaga and even though it is closed to traffic, there are crowds of people walking on the pavement and cyclists, skateboarders and runners on the road. Although most are complying with the regulations (only walking with their partner or children and maintaining social distancing from anyone else), it is easy to spot others who are not. For example, families with children walking together; groups of teenagers meeting up in quiet areas for parties and runners and cyclists who arrange to exercise together instead of following the instructions to keep well away from anyone else.

Nor are these the only ones. There are bars where groups of friends meet up for drinks, people who take advantage of being allowed to walk along the beach and have a swim or lie in the sun, shops allowing more people in than are permitted, people breaking the rules and taking a sheep or goat as an excuse for a walk, teenagers together and none wearing a mask, neighbours in developments gathering in groups as if lockdown had never happened and, of course, the runners, cyclists and skateboarders who take over the seafront promenades every evening during the times exercise is allowed.

If there's a law, someone will break it. And when people decide to ignore the restrictions because they are bored or it won't be long before the province moves into Phase One of the easing of lockdown, it leads to a lack of control and too much confidence on the streets of Malaga.

No control on the seafronts

The police agree that more people are ignoring the rules. "It's happening in the different districts of the city, but on the seafronts there is a complete lack of control," says Manuel Troyano, general secretary of the Sip-an union, who wants the council to take measures to keep people separate, set up one-way systems for walking and cycling and prevent crowding.

The PSOE spokesman at the city hall, Daniel Pérez, agrees. "We need people to behave responsibly; we can't all go out to the same place at the same time," he says. He also says he has received calls from police officers who say they are overwhelmed.

Eduardo Zorrilla, of Adelante Málaga, considers the space is insufficient, "judging by the crowds", and wants streets in the most densely populated areas to be pedestrianised.

The councillor for Mobility, José Del Río, says the local authority is looking at the idea of putting up signs in pedestrian areas to guide and separate people who are walking and those on bicycles.