KNOKKE-HEIST, Belgium (Reuters) – Belgium has implemented a new cell phone tracking system to limit overcrowding at resorts and beaches which officially open Saturday for the summer season.
Health authorities across Europe are concerned about the prospect of masses flocking to local beaches and risking the spread of the coronavirus, as in the English seaside resort of Bournemouth on Thursday.
Belgian coastal towns don’t seek to prevent tourists from coming, but want them to use common sense, like reorienting themselves to a less crowded place or choosing to shop later.
The 10 districts along the coast will detect cell phones on nearby beaches, dikes and waterfronts and display the information live on a website, with codes ranging from dark green for calm to orange. for the very busy.
Another 130 sensors in cities will tell people which high-traffic areas they want to avoid. The website also hopes to give an indication of the likely occupancy of the resorts in the coming days.
The upscale town of Knokke-Heist has also implemented beach markings to indicate 3 square meter (32 square foot) boxes.
“We have set up what we call ‘beach bubbles’, where family or friends can be together safely and visualize how far they should be from each other,” Anthony Wittesaele told Reuters , municipal councilor for tourism.
Swimming in the sea off the coast of Belgium is prohibited until the season, when lifeguards are on patrol. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the start of the season from May to this Saturday. He runs until mid-September.
Written by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mike Collett-White