Brits in Benidorm will have to wear face masks when they stroll along the beach, it emerged today.
Benidorm mayor Toni Perez said the resort would be enforcing government legislation making the masks obligatory in public spaces where social distancing cannot be guaranteed.
But sunbathers will not be expected to wear face masks once they are in allocated squares on the beach.
Only under 10s will be able to stay in a 20-ft wide strip between the shoreline and front-line sunbathers – with everyone above that age only allowed to use the area to enter the sea or enjoy a stroll.
Other changes will see capacity for the famous Costa Blanca resort rise from just over 25,000 people to around 33,000.
The move comes after the closure of several beaches in other parts of Spain at the weekend which didn’t offer sun seekers a pre-booking system.
In Benidorm, the reservation system is expected to be up and running by mid-July when more British tourists arrive.
During a press conference, Mr Perez announced changes to the beach safety system.
He said: “From today beach users can only stroll along the 20ft strip between the shoreline and the area where sunbathers can stay, making sure they keep social distancing of five feet and with the obligatory use of face masks, in line with the government decree approved earlier this month.”
He added: “Only children under 10 will be allowed to remain in this 20ft strip.”
In a boost to beachgoers who have been banned from playing ball games on other beaches, some games will be allowed.
Mr Perez continued: “The practice of sports in areas which are normally provided on a permanent basis for beach volley and football will be allowed.
“All types of games outside of those areas will be prohibited in line with state rules.”
Under the new rules, beachgoers in Benidorm who don’t opt for a sunbed must stay within small plots marked out.
Currently 5,000 13x13ft squares are marked out on the resort’s famous Poniente and Levante beaches.
These are colour-coded blue for general use or red for the over-70s who have been allocated designated areas.
Mr Perez is believed to be the first Spanish mayor who has indicated the mandatory use of face masks for people strolling along the shoreline will be policed.
In reality, the rule is being ignored by some expats and locals, who are only wearing them in shops and other indoors areas.
But police are expected to take a tougher approach and start fining people as the Costa resorts get busier this summer season.
Spain reopened its borders to people from the UK on Sunday for the first time since the pandemic halted travel.
But Foreign Office advice still warns against all non essential travel.
A government spokesman told Mirror.co.uk that their advice had not changed.
He said: “We know people want to start travelling again but it’s important to stress that our advice has not changed.
“We currently advise against all but essential travel globally as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
“We are closely monitoring the situation in each country and are regularly updating our travel advice in accordance with the risk to British travellers.
“Anyone thinking about travelling should check the FCO’s Travel Advice pages and sign up for country specific alerts so they are notified immediately when our advice changes.
“They contain up to date information for every country, including the latest on the local covid-19 measures in those countries.
“Future travellers should also speak to their insurer. COVID-19-related costs, including cancellation and medical, may not be covered.”