With beaches (unorganized) and other facilities gradually reopening in Greece, many have questions about coronavirus safety. Associate Professor of Marine Microbiology at the Department of Marine Life sciences, University of the Aegean Dr. Maria-Adamantia Efstratios offers guidance for beachgoing this summer.
Many people have questions about beachgoing and enjoying swimming pools as restrictions are gradually eased. One of the most prominent being social contact at beaches. According to Dr. Efstratios, via the Athens – Macedonian News Agency: “Beachgoing is as safe this year as it was last year or even ten years ago.”
Commentators asked the scientist about the survival of the coronavirus on beaches in the hotter summer months, to which the marine biologist responded, that “sunshine and high temperatures make beach sand deadly for the virus.” In other words, if someone with the virus coughs droplets onto the sand, there is no way the virus can survive. She says; “SARS-CoV-2 on the summer sand “will not survive, even at 10 in the morning.”
When asked about bathers swimming in the sea or pools, and showering afterward, the professor deferred to logic. Distance is the key to the general transmission of the coronavirus, but seawater and chlorinated pool water are deadly mediums for viruses. Dr. Efstratios cautioned that over-chlorination of pools should be avoided since this is unnecessary. She did, however, urge greater spacing for social distancing as a precaution.
She urges no less than 5 sq.m per person for bathers on beaches and suggests that 8 sq.m is ideal. In general social contexts, doctors are recommending one and a half meters distance in between persons. But, for organized beaches with umbrellas and loungers, the experts say an area of at least 20 sq.m is necessary. Dr. Efstratios says the total number of beach umbrellas on any given beach will need to be reduced this summer.
As for beachgoing and suggestion of plexiglass structures, the scientist says it’s ill-advised for several reasons, including the fact small children might be injured by running into the transparent barriers. She says such unusual structures have no bearing on public health.
Greece has created a detailed plan of action for the gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. Here is a PDF or the “Plan for the gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictive measures,” which has the official calendar and other vital information.