This aerial picture shows an view of hilltop seaside town Sperlonga and its beaches, about 120km south of Rome. Picture: AP
This aerial picture shows an view of hilltop seaside town Sperlonga and its beaches, about 120km south of Rome. Picture: AP

Italy wants to open its beaches but doesn't know how to implement social distancing rules

By Sputnik Time of article published May 8, 2020

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Genoa - Italian beaches are regretfully going to miss Russian tourists in this year’s season since the global coronavirus emergency does not leave many possibilities for a speedy revival of international tourism, Fabrizio Licordari, president of Assobalneari, the Italian Beaches Association, told Sputnik.

Since the beginning of this week, Italy has entered a so-called Phase Two of coronavirus emergency, which means a gradual reopening and lifting of the lockdown limitations. Parks and villas have been reopened for visitors but beaches still remain closed​​​.

"Without a doubt we will have mainly domestic tourism this year. We do not know what the behavior of other states will be, and what the behavior of our state toward others will be, if the borders will be opened or not. One has to be very careful about situations that can potentially bring the virus back into circulation," Licordari said.

He noted that tourists, including those from Russia, are looking at a year without travel abroad after years of intensive travelling.

"Russian tourists like to visit Italy very much, but unfortunately it is likely that Russians will have to stay in their homeland and abstain from travelling throughout the year. It is very unfortunate to us, because we have a great relationship of friendship with the Russian people. By now the attendance of Italy by the Russian tourists has been very high for many years, and it has been a high-quality tourism," he continued.

Assobalneari, the association gathering beach entrepreneurs within Federturismo Confindustria, Italian federation of tourism businesses, is still waiting for instructions from the Technical and Scientific Committee (CTS) of the Italian government on how to reopen beaches. Licordari noted that ways to ensure safe distance between people on the beach with the use of poles and cords are in consideration.

On April 26, the central government adopted the decree "Phase Two" in which it allowed visits to relatives within one region, funerals with the participation of not more than 15 persons, sport activities and visits to public parks. It was left to the regional authorities to specify these measures or to maintain certain limitations for longer if needed.

The decree envisages further easing of lockdown starting from May 18.

Earlier on Thursday, however, governor of Veneto region Luca Zaia said beaches and touristic activities in Veneto must be opened with no delays since the epidemiological picture has changed.

Licordari believes safety measures for beaches must be unified throughout the country.

"We wish things could also improve in Russia with the arrival of the warm season, the heat, that they could also get back to travelling. But I still see it difficult for this season, not only for the Russians, but also for the Germans and many other tourists from northern Europe," he said.

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