The beaches of Barcelona were packed with people at the weekend even as the city was forced back into lockdown after a surge in coronavirus cases.
Thousands of sun-seekers ignored pleas from the Catalan authorities to stay at home in one of Spain’s worst-hit regions from COVID-19.
Access to beaches in Barcelona had to be closed on Saturday and Sunday after too many people took to the sand.
Police patrolled Barceloneta beach and closed it off to new bathers on Sunday afternoon after it reached capacity. Long queues of people formed to gain access to the beach.
Barcelona went back into lockdown on Saturday, with gatherings of more than 10 people banned.
On Sunday, Catalonia’s regional health ministry reported 944 new cases over a 24-hour period, after recording more than 1,200 the previous day.
About four million people were advised to only leave home for essential trips, but that did not stop the city’s beaches from being overwhelmed.
"Staying at home in the summer is stifling and stressful," said beach-goer Felipe, 24, who wore a face mask.
"I work five days a week and can't spend every day at home. My mental health comes first.”
Spain was one of the worst-hit countries in Europe by coronavirus and emerged from a national lockdown on 21 June.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 260,000 cases in Spain and more than 28,000 deaths.
Since its national lockdown ended, there have been more than 180 outbreaks across Spain.
The new lockdown measures in Barcelona mean bars and restaurants may remain open but provide just 50% capacity and two metres between tables outside.
Spanish health minister Salvador Illa urged Barcelona residents to follow the guidelines.
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