Beach in Alcudia, Mallorca

There were times last year when the beach was all but deserted.

13-10-2020Elena Ballestero

Services on Alcudia's beaches will resume on May 1. As with last year, when the beaches became the first in Spain to be given a Covid-free certification, the town hall intends operating with a reduced number of sunloungers and parasols. There will be eight-metre distancing between sunlounger sets and ten-metre wide "health corridors" for accessing the sea.

Since the start of February, municipal workers have been preparing the sunloungers and parasols, carrying out repairs and painting. In all, there are 4,000 sunloungers and 2,000 parasols, but only a quarter of these will initially be available. In 2020, no more than a third of the stock was put out.

The town hall says that it is committed to ensuring that there is "an image of normality", understanding that it is unlikely that revenue will be anything like normal. The councillor with responsibility for beach services, Domingo Bonnin, says that the annual income from rental is normally around two million euros. In 2020, it was below 200,000 - in the region of 180,000 euros.

Based on experience last year, parts of the pine wood area at the so-called French beach, a stretch between the canal for Lago Esperanza and the Playa de Muro boundary, will be roped off. There were times last summer when there was overcrowding. Information personnel, who are in charge of controlling capacity, will again be deployed. One of their main tasks in 2020 was to ask people to move who weren't using the sunloungers but were too close to them. There was never an issue with capacity on the main beach, but access to the Alcanada, Mal Pas and S'Illot beaches had to be denied at weekends when these reached their capacities.

The price for renting a sunlounger was frozen last year and will be again this summer - it is 6.50 euros.

Alcudia is a rare example of management of beach services being under the direct control of the town hall. Not all the services are, notably the beach bar "balnearios", but this direct management offered an advantage in 2020 as the town hall didn't need to enter into negotiations with contractors. For some beaches in Mallorca, there were no services as these were not viable economically. Alcudia accepts that it is taking a hit when it comes to revenue, but as well as wanting to present an image of as normal as possible, it has also ensured that there is employment for all municipal workers involved with looking after the beaches.

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