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Belgian beach town unveils social-distancing cabins

© Belga

Individual sunbathing cabins have popped up on the beaches of Knokke-Heist, as one of Belgium’s most affluent beach towns readies for a coronavirus summer.

A total of 200 cabins have been placed on the beach as part of a strategy by authorities to ensure beach-goers keep to their own social bubbles.

The cabins are semi fenced-in zones of around three by three metres, enclosed with beach nets and set up four metres apart from each other.

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“That is enough to walk to and from the beach without any problems — at a sufficient distance from each other,” Beach City Anthony Wittesaele told VRT.

Wittesaele said that the cabins will aim to work as “landmarks for all beachgoers,” helping them to navigate the beach while keeping in check with social distancing guidelines.

The cabins point to the difficult balance between strict rules and common sense that local authorities are hoping to find when they begin welcoming people to their beaches, with Wittesaele saying that beachgoers could potentially set up their own enclosures.

“We also count on the common sense of people. They can, for example, put windbreakers on other places on the beach,” he said, but noted that it would be “impossible” to have the beach fill up with everyone’s own material.

Not up for reservation, the cabins will go on a first-come, first-served basis, with Le Soir reporting that it will also be left up to sunbathers to regulate their usage between them.

Along the Belgian coast, beach town mayors are readying preparations for a summer in which uncertainty about international travel amid the pandemic could draw large numbers of Belgians to opt for a vacation at home instead.

As part of the preparations, Belgium’s only nudist beach will be closing down this summer in order to ensure that there is enough space to stretch out holidaymakers along the country’s beaches.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times