Peru reopens beaches to surfers and bathers

Peru's beaches will reopen gradually to surfers and swimmers under certain restrictions, such as limiting users to no more than one hour in the sea (AFP Photo/Ernesto BENAVIDES)

Lima (AFP) - Surfers and bathers are allowed back on Peru's beaches despite the national lockdown remaining in place, authorities said on Tuesday.

Beaches will reopen gradually under certain restrictions, such as limiting users to no more than one hour in the sea. Wearing masks when not in the water will be mandatory.

Bathers will only be allowed if they are alone, and beaches will only be open at certain times of the day. Social distancing will apply when the beaches are open.

Surfing is a hugely popular sport in Peru with more than 60,000 practitioners, and many popular surf beaches are located in and around the capital Lima.

The local municipality in the Miraflores district of Lima said on Twitter that beachgoers should "avoid using vehicles to arrive at the beach."

Miraflores is a popular neighborhood among tourists and boasts five kilometers (three miles) of coastline, including the largest number of surf beaches in the capital.

While surfers will be allowed to ride the waves, surf schools are not allowed to open nor rent out boards.

As well as surfing, other water sports such as wind-surfing, sailing and swimming are allowed.

Peru surpassed 200,000 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, making the South American country the eighth worst-hit nation in the world.

Its death toll also rose over 5,700, the third-highest in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico.