Real Life Spanish Smurf Village Bans Swimming In River Due To Covid-19 Risks
Juzcar, near Malaga, was decorated as a publicity stunt for The Smurfs movie back in 2011, but residents liked the look so much that they voted to keep it.
There are only 230 people living in the Andalusian town, but after the makeover it saw visitor numbers soar.
More than 80,000 tourists take a trip to the village each year, despite the official collaboration with the film and TV franchise ending years ago.
Residents in Juzcar have decided to keep up the look, painting everything in the famous blue shade.
But since the coronavirus pandemic, the village, which is largely dependent on tourism, has had to make some changes.
In order to welcome tourists back in safely, the council in the town has brought in new health and safety regulations in the hope of protecting the small population from the virus that they have so far managed to keep at bay.
Stricter rules around swimming and rapids rides on the river have been brought in, with the authorities in the town hoping to encourage social distancing.
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Mayor David Fernandez Tirado announced that the rules would come into place, saying it was important to 'contain the progression of the disease and strengthen the public health system'.
He added: "These new temporary extraordinary measures must be maintained to prevent and contain the virus and mitigate the health, social and economic impact."
With the hot summer months already here, the mayor has imposed the new rules as it wouldn't be possible to disinfect the area effectively or restrict numbers in the bathing pools.
Tourism activities along the Zúas river have been banned 'until further notice' - a decision which has drawn criticism from several local adventure sports companies, according to Spanish publication Sur Round.
Gatherings will be restricted to a recommended maximum of 10, and in no case whatsoever will more than 20 people be allowed to meet in a group together.
All the social distancing rules that have become normal are in place, with any visitors urged to make sure they wash their hands and avoid touching surfaces where possible.
Tourism to Spain was encouraged in the UK up until 26 July, when Brits abroad were given four hours notice before new quarantine rules were introduced after the country experienced a surge in coronavirus cases.
Featured Image Credit: Sebastian Wasek/Alamy Stock Photo