SPAIN is to ban British holidaymakers until at least July 10 – more than a week after other international tourists are allowed in.
It will reopen at the beginning of next month, although thousands of Germans have been given the green light to fly to Majorca for a pilot scheme starting Monday.
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Benidorm mayor Toni Perez said Brits would have to wait at least nine extra days after July 1 before they can pack their cases.
The bad news was revealed after the famous Costa Blanca resort confirmed its beaches would reopen tomorrow with a set of strict new rules.
They will include segregated areas for the over 70s and a reservation system which will see sunbathers having to book their spot on the sands.
The measures are part of a plan called ‘Benidorm Beach Safety’.
The town hall said: “Toni Perez has highlighted that the re-opening of the beaches and the introduction of this plan is occurring prior to the arrival of national tourism, which is scheduled to happen on June 22.
“It is also occurring before the arrival of international tourists, who depending on their country of origin will begin to arrive from July 1, although in the case of British holidaymakers will not happen until at least July 10.”
His comments follow a decision by authorities in the Balearic Islands not to invite Brits to join the two-week pilot scheme starting tomorrow in Majorca.
Regional government bosses insist they are not being anti-British and the invite Germans only was linked to the fact their coronavirus statistics are better.
Spain’s tourism minister Maria Reyes Maroto even said earlier this month her country was “itching” to welcome back UK holidaymakers.
Maroto said: “As you know the UK is our main foreign holiday market and Spain is Britain’s favourite holiday destination.
“We are looking forward to welcoming British holidaymakers with the warmth and hospitality that characterises us.
“Both countries, Spain and the UK, are making a great effort to control the Covid-19 pandemia and the results are more and more positive.
“We’re speaking to the British authorities and also tour-operators there to learn more about the evolution of the pandemia and get more information on when the Foreign Office will lift the quarantine that could stop people from the UK travelling."
That news came after a UK tourism lobby group said corridors allowing unrestricted movement with a number of countries would open from June 29.
The so-called air bridges scheme will allow quarantine-free travel between two countries with low rates of infections if a bilateral agreement is made.
Boris Johnson and other ministers are hopeful it can restore Brits' summer holidays in the coming weeks and months ahead.
It would mean that people wouldn't have to quarantine for two weeks when they go on holiday – or when they return.
As part of its beach safety plan, Benidorm has divided its Levante and Poniente beaches into 20 sectors.
Twelve are “open-access” sectors which will be divided into individual areas catering for up to four people.
Some of the sectors, marked in green, will be reserved for the over 70s.
Another eight sectors will be reserved for a beach licencee which will be allowed to install just over 5,500 sunbeds.
The maximum number of people allowed on the two beaches will be 26,066 people.
They will have to access the beaches via one of 20 manned access points open from 9am to 9pm.
Beach users will be able to reserve via an app or in person through information centres but the pre-reservation will only kick in as beaches get more crowded.
As in the rest of Spain, sunseekers will be expected to use facemasks in areas where social distancing of two metres cannot be guaranteed, meaning they face having to wear them to get to the sand but can take them off afterwards.
Flip flops will have to be worn at all times on access stairs and ramps.
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