Lifeguards on a beach. | R.L.


Tomorrow is May 1 which traditionally is the start of the tourist season, however, as we are too well aware when the season will take off remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, Palma City Council is launching its annual beach security operation tomorrow.
From the morning, lifeguards and spotters will be patrolling five Palma beaches with an extra emphasis this year, just like last summer, on ensuring that the beach Covid protocol is respected.

Lifeguards will be deployed to the Playa de Palma, Cala Mayor, Can Pere Antoni, Ciudad Jardin and Cala Estancia.
Until June 16, the teams will be on guard from 11am to 6pm and then, until the middle of September, the hours will be 10am to 7pm.

Between today and the middle of June a total of 29 lifeguards will on patrol and during the traditional peak of the season, the number will rise to 34.

This year, new signs will be posted on all of Palma’s beaches explaining what the Covid protocol is: groups of a maximum of six people from two households with masks being used at all times when possible and that the curfew is respected with no bathing permitted after 11pm.

After the initial uproar over a proposed order for the blanket use of masks on the beaches, the authorities quickly backed down and the protocol is the same as last year.
When static, for example simply lying on a beach, a mask is not required, masks are only needed when moving about the beach or going for a walk along the water’s edge.

Obviously as the summer develops protocol will change as and when the authorities see fit. But, the wearing of masks on beaches remains a controversial issue.
Last year, when the mandatory use of the mask was introduced in the Balearic Islands, the Balearic Hotel Chains Association reported cancellations and a drop in bookings from the United Kingdom and Germany, the main source countries of tourism to Spain.

That said, local residents were quick to head to the beaches with the local police forced to close the most popular beaches every weekend because of over crowding and fears that Covid protocol would not be followed.

And, with far more people than usual out of work or still on furlough, once the good weather sets in, the beaches are going to be busy again, even more so once the green light is given for foreign visitors to return.