جريدة صيدونيانيوز.نت / اخبار مدينة صيدا / Sidon beachgoers frustrated by measures
Mohammed Zaatari| The Daily Star
SIDON, Lebanon: Near the northern entrance of the city of Sidon by the beach, Samer Razian was practicing his favorite hobbies that include swimming and working out, accompanied by his dog.
“How come it is forbidden to swim in the sea but we are allowed to swim in swimming pools?” Razian told The Daily Star.
The beach corniche is free and is the place for physical distancing, and people are safe from coronavirus here, he added.
The municipality of Sidon had asked all of its residents and visitors not to swim in the beach, in accordance with the general mobilization decisions to face the coronavirus pandemic and for them to be safe from strong sea currents, as a number of drowning incidents took place last week.
Municipality officers called on people to evacuate the corniche via loudspeakers.
Salwa told The Daily Star that she, along with her kids walked 3 kilometers from home to get to the corniche because she doesn’t have money for a taxi.
“If [security forces] are able to take us away from here, then let them,” she said.
The public beach and swimming pool in Sidon is still closed for visitors and the lifeguards of the pool are currently unavailable as a result, to help any struggling swimmer.
“We were quarantined at our homes because of coronavirus, no school, no play ... we were getting depressed,” Jamal Akra, a 12-year-old student told The Daily Star.
“Where are we supposed to go? We don’t have money for private swimming pools,” he said adding that he prefers the sea anyways.
Abbas Kharoubi was playing with his kids by the beach when municipality police officers asked him to leave, and issued a fine.
“There is no one else here, where will the virus get to me from?” Kharoubi had told the police officers.
Patrol officers had taken over the southern coast, coming across violators of the general mobilization rules that state that swimming in the sea is not allowed at this stage.
“No one can contain the southern coast that is around 60 kilometer long,” Kharoubi said.
Lebanon has been under a state of general mobilization and a lockdown since March in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus. However, establishments, shops and offices were gradually allowed to reopen starting May, through a governmental plan.
The Interior Ministry Sunday issued a decision that allowed most places around the country to operate, with some exceptions that include beaches.