The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdown have left us all begging to be let out. We have spent months locked away at home. So now, we just want to go out for a bit. This is what happened in Europe. There was crowding at European beaches as they reopened after months of closure. People could be seen ignoring social distancing norms and having a gala time. This caused grave concern amongst European authorities. They were alarmed at this sudden surge of people on beaches. The flouting of safety norms was also risky. Some local authorities even started shutting down the beaches again to drive people to go home. The European countries remain committed to restoring the tourism industry but not as the cost of safety.
Crowding at European Beaches sounds an alarm
The rise in the number of cases in Europe may have subsided. However, the virus isn’t gone or eradicated. Since it is the summer season and restrictions eased, Northern Europeans hit the beaches. This prompted authorities to start closing down the beaches since social distancing norms were being ignored.
The authorities of Southend in England have stated that they might take punitive action against people thronging the beaches. They asked tourists on the beach to maintain a safe distance from one another. They also said that they would have to close the beaches if people did not adhere to safety norms. Restrictions may have been relaxed in England, but in Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland all non-essential travel is still restricted. Authorities are using selective shutting down of roads and fines to try and dissuade people from hitting the beaches.
Why were the beaches opened?
The French authorities had reopened beaches so that people can get some space to do physical exercise. They had allowed running, jogging, fishing, and swimming on the beaches. Picnics and sunbathing were still prohibited. However, people ignored these restrictions and used the beaches as they pleased. In the north-western region of France, three towns decided to completely shut down their beaches again. The authorities called the blatant disregard for social distancing norms unacceptable. In the Netherlands, the authorities have asked German tourists not to hit the beaches.
The European countries have been severely hit by the pandemic and they had 1.74 million cases till May 20. About 164,349 people have reportedly died from the virus as well. Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, and the UK have been severely hit by the virus amongst European countries. The WHO has also issued a warning saying that the virus is not gone and the fight is not over. The WHO has asked people in countries where restrictions are being relaxed to behave responsibly and adopt safety measures.
Tourism is an important industry in Europe. On May 20 all European tourism ministers said that they would take steps to help European tourism fully recover. They agreed that country borders would come down gradually based on the prevalence of COVID-19 cases.
There has been a significant improvement in the fight against the Coronavirus and this has prompted easing of restrictions. However, COVID-19 is still prevalent amongst us and irresponsible behavior will set us back in the fight against it.