In July, the “towel movement” emerged, starting with protests in Paros and expanding to other islands, with citizens demanding the reclaiming of public beaches. In response, the government drafted a beach bill to protect citizen access, defining the responsibilities of beach space renters.

Outlined within the bill are the obligations imposed on beachfront lessees, ensuring they adhere to regulations while renting out these coveted spaces. Chief among these mandates is the guarantee of unhindered public access, ensuring that beachgoers can use the coastline and sands without obstruction or danger.

Moreover, lessees must facilitate beach access for individuals with disabilities, fostering inclusivity in recreational spaces. To prevent overcrowding and maintain the natural beauty of the coastline, the bill imposes limits on the installation of umbrellas, sunbeds, and other recreational structures, capping their presence at a percentage of the leased area.

Importantly, lessees are tasked with daily upkeep, ensuring that the leased beach areas remain clean and inviting for visitors. Transparency is also prioritized, with lessees mandated to prominently display lease details on the beach, accessible to the public electronically for verification and complaint submission.

In addition to providing amenities for beachgoers, such as movable facilities, lessees are entrusted with preserving the balance of the coastal ecosystem. This includes maintaining the natural morphology of the coast and shoreline.

Lastly, the bill highlights the importance of safety, requiring lessees to ensure the presence of lifeguards where municipal coverage falls short.

To ensure lessees follow beach rules, a free digital app for mobile devices will be launched. Each beach lease will be linked to a QR code displayed on the Public Real Estate Service and municipality websites, as well as on beach signage. With this app, citizens can access the beach area diagram and report any violations, such as unauthorized occupation or exceeding of the lease, directly.