QUITO, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador will reopen 40 beaches to visitors five months after closing them to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Tourism Minister Rosi Prado said on Tuesday.
The opening on Wednesday of beaches in the five coastal provinces of Guayas, Santa Elena, Manabi, Esmeraldas and El Oro, aims to reactivate tourism, she said, adding the public would still need to observe social distancing measures.
"The reactivation of beaches in Ecuador requires the cooperation of citizens in complying with social distancing and avoiding crowds," Prado said at a joint virtual press conference with the director of the country's Integrated Security Service ECU 911, Juan Zapata.
Prado also called on tourism service providers to comply with new health and hygiene rules.
"That allows us to build the confidence of visitors so that travelers continue to choose Ecuador as their preferred destination," said the minister.
"Nowhere can more than three people be gathered together," she stressed.
Ecuador, one of the Latin American countries hit the hardest by the pandemic, has a total of 87,963 cases of COVID-19 infection and 5,808 deaths from the disease.