Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
Tourists including British visitors will have to make reservations if they want to use the spectacular golden beaches across the Channel in Belgium due to social distancing restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bart Tommelein, the mayor of the coastal city of Ostend, in the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium is setting up a reservation system on local beaches for summer.
Ostend has been a popular destination with Brits since the 19th Century when aristocrats would cross the Channel to enjoy its huge beach that stretches for miles down the coast.
The parts of the beaches that are the most crowded will require that people make bookings in advance due to the coronavirus pandemic and the need for social distancing, the mayor is quoted as saying in local media.
He said: “As a city government, we feel that it is important to take responsibility. We want to ensure that as many locals, second home owners and visitors as possible can enjoy the beach, in a safe way.”
He added: “This way, people can be sure that they will have a spot before going to the beach. For the other beaches, there will be no need to book, for the time being.”
The announcement was made yesterday (Tuesday 19th May) and the system will reportedly give priority to locals, hotel guests and second home owners. Reservations will also reportedly be free and some beaches such as in Mariakerke will not require a reservation.
It is currently unclear if Belgians will be allowed to travel abroad this summer and the country is reportedly expecting many of them to try to go on holiday in at home.
There are already 3×3-metre (9.8×9.8-foot) enclosures being built on the beaches of Knokke-Heist, just over 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) down the road from Ostend, as can be seen in this photograph.
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