Nothing will be the same at the seaside again this summer. In Italy, people still hope for limited beach operations. A company suggests separating bathers from one another with plexiglass boxes.
In good weather, Italy’s beach resorts usually open at Easter. Like squares and streets, the beaches were deserted over the holidays this year. Spring has already been written off in Italy, but now many are also afraid for the much-loved and much-sung “estate Italiana”.
It is a nightmare for Italians to imagine that they are still locked up in their apartment in the blazing August heat. But pretty much everything that belongs to a typical Italian summer is simply inconceivable in 2020: crowded pizzerias, long lines in front of the gelateria, full amusement parks, markets and, above all, beach baths where you lie next to each other like sardines in the sun.
Foreigners will not come, Italians have no money
Now that the worst seems to be over and the contagion curve is slowly leveling off, Italy is also starting to discuss the consequences of the corona pandemic for tourism more intensively. Some in the industry are very pessimistic and fear that even this summer, even if the curfew should be lifted, there will hardly be any holiday guests.
Foreign travelers are expected to return to Italy in late autumn at the earliest. Many locals could also stay at home for fear of their health. Some of them have already had to move in and will have to work in the summer if the economy slowly starts to pick up again. Given the dramatic economic situation, many others should simply no longer have the means to spend their holidays by the sea.
The outlook is therefore bleak. But while immunologists continue to call on the people to be patient and advise against vacationing outside their own four walls, most tourism managers and operators of hotels, campsites and beach resorts do not want to give up hope yet. In all regions of the country, possibilities for a return to summer normalcy are being discussed.
Pollica in Campania is considering selling “holiday bonds” that have significantly more value than they cost and could be redeemed by 2022. In Sardinia, a major campaign is aimed at making transportation and accommodation more hygienic.
Safe behind plexiglass
A company from Modena meanwhile presented a project according to which the bathers in the beach baths sit in plexiglass boxes from 4.5 to 4.5 meters and are to be protected from each other. A parasol, two loungers and 2-meter high glass walls all around. The tables in the bars and restaurants of the holiday resort should also be separated from one another by plexiglass. It is doubtful, however, that the holiday guests feel comfortable in such circumstances.
Can we go to the beach in summer amid #COVID19 after all?
An Italian company has a possible solution: they want to put large plexiglass boxes on the beaches.
The idea came from Nuova Neon Group 2. pic.twitter.com/Stigp5TVJq
— Disclose.tv ???? (@disclosetv) April 15, 2020
Most, therefore, suggest less drastic measures. Some say bathers have to wear face masks in the common areas. Others want beach bars and restaurants to remain closed and guests to be served directly under the parasol instead.
Only with a reservation to the beach
To allow the necessary distance, the number of bathers per beach would have to be limited in any case. Most likely you would have to register in the future to be able to stay in a so-called Stabilimento.
But how should compliance be ensured? And who is liable if the bathers do not follow the rules and infect others? Among other things, there is the suggestion to use special stewards who should inform and control the guests in the bathrooms. How to keep the situation on the many free beaches under control is not clear.
Given the seriousness of the situation – the number of people infected and dead continues to increase – opening up the beaches is currently still completely unrealistic. In Rome, too, people are considering how to prepare for such a scenario in the coming months. According to Lorenza Bonaccorsi, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the government wants to give the Italians a bit of a vacation this year. By decree, operators of beach pools will soon be allowed to build and prepare the infrastructure.
However, the politician also emphasizes that stringent regulations are necessary in order not to aggravate the health emergency. Anyone who lives near the coast or has an apartment should also be able to drive there. However, as in normal years, millions of Italians could not travel to the sea at the same time. This year, the government official advises that citizens should try to take a vacation in the area where they live or to visit less known places.
Corona as an opportunity?
Some optimists even see the Corona crisis as an opportunity for the tourism industry. The burglary must be used to think about more sustainable forms of travel, as the President of the Veneto Tourism Association demands. Mass tourism has pushed Venice and other Italian cities to their limits. Now you have the opportunity to reduce the number of visitors – in the interest of health, but also of the environment and cultural assets.
Italy’s tourism sector generates annual sales of over € 200 billion and thus contributes a good 13 percent of the gross domestic product. Officially, 4.2 million people are employed in the area. If the restrictions on freedom of movement are not relaxed somewhat in the coming months and the beaches are not partially opened, many companies are at risk of collapse.
Experts expect losses of up to 70 billion euros for the current year, even if the situation eases in summer. The Minister of Culture and Tourism Dario Franceschini has already promised billions in aid. A rescue package for the industry is also being negotiated at the European level.