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New on “Formentera es queda a casa”: Carles Ventura gives livecast for ‘Xerrades’

cartell xerrada carles venturaThe Formentera Department of Social Welfare announces that at 5.00pm this Thursday 7 May, the latest instalment in the Consell’s lecture series for parents and teachers will come from Carles Ventura, who will appear live on the Facebook page Formentera es queda a casa.

As part of ‘Com parlar amb els i les nostres fills i filles adolescents’, Ventura, a speaker, writer and life coach for youth, will guide attendees through successful communication with adolescent children. The discussion is the second of the series to be broadcast live on the Formentera Facebook page; the first was offered by Marina Ribas on 16 April.

5 May 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Alejandra Ferrer addresses islanders about first phase of lockdown easing

Sandra compareixenca 2Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer gave a press conference and open address to the people of the island to announce activation of the first phase in Formentera’s gradual easing of confinement measures. The broadcast was retransmitted on the Consell’s YouTube channel here and listeners were able to tune in to Ràdio Illa to hear Ferrer’s discourse live.

The president dedicated her message to the victims of the grave public health crisis as well as their families, and reserved special words for the family of the island’s only coronavirus-related death.

Ferrer applauded islanders’ sense of individual and collective responsibility, which she said was behind the State’s decision to begin phase one of Formentera’s de-escalation this Monday, 4 May. “It’s been a very difficult few weeks”, the president said. “We’re reopening gradually; children came first, and this weekend saw athletes, adults, seniors and at-risk groups get their chance at a limited return to certain movement. It’s time now for a step forward”, she said, “but we’ve got to do it responsibly if we want to avoid having to take steps backward later”.

“Formentera’s rollout of phase one is good news, but it needs to happen with caution and responsibility”, Ferrer offered. “From today we’ll ease out of confinement at the local level, but we’ve got a long way to go before we’re ready for tourism”, she said, assuring residents that “first it’s going to be inter-island, then national, and, at the end, international”. Holding up tourists as “our economy’s driving engine”, Ferrer said that tourism’s return to the island wouldn’t just depend on how the health crisis unfolds here, “but on the way the pandemic plays out globally”, she said. “We’re already working on a new promotion strategy that—when we’re ready for visitors—will start with markets close in proximity to Formentera”.

Phase one

The president gave an overview of the main pillars already set out by Madrid with regards to phase one, including provisions for vulnerable individuals receiving clinical care. Two-metre physical distancing will remain in place, and riders of public transport will have to wear masks, as will individuals unable to respect distancing measures. “Handwashing remains crucial as well”, she said.

Per a preliminary reading of the country’s official gazette, Ferrer said people on the island would no longer face mobility restrictions. Highlighting ministerial orders announced mere hours before phase one was due to take effect on Formentera this evening, she asked that in future phases local government be given advance details and a contact person “to help us interpret the new guidelines with sufficient time”.

Starting tomorrow, Formentera residents in groups of no more than ten can return to social contact in public spaces, bar terraces and homes providing safety measures are respected.

Terraces, restaurants and shops

In the new phase, businesses that occupy less than 400 square metres can reopen as long has specific hygiene measures and protocol are followed. Shops must remain below 30% capacity and make sure customers keep a safe distance. Terraces of bars and restaurants can seat half of their normal maximum if a safe distance is kept between tables.

The trade department is teeing up educational materials on protocols and will offer them to reopening businesses in the days ahead.

Consell information service

From tomorrow, informadors will be posted in Formentera’s main towns to provide information about unfolding de-escalation measures. Local police, the Civil Guard and Civil Protection, for their part, will continue controls and educational efforts in rural parts of the island.

Public transport

Riders must wear masks aboard public transport, and vehicles will ride at half capacity. Taxis, meanwhile, can carry no more than two passengers at a time, who must ride separately and in the back seat. Established hygiene measures will remain in place everywhere.

The president spoke frankly: “This is a very serious disease. We’re entering a phase of return to normalcy, but this isn’t ‘full speed ahead’ and throw caution to the wind. It may seem contradictory, but right now keeping our distance is crucial if we want to come together again later”.

3 May 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Consell unveils new section of website for updated info on Covid-19 crisis and support for islanders

foto webconsellcovidThe Formentera Department of Entrepreneurialism and New Technologies announces the opening of www.conselldeformentera.cat/covid19—a new section of the Consell de Formentera website devoted to updated information on the phased-in opening up of public life as well as assistance which local, regional and national governments are offering islanders in response to the Covid-19 emergency.

Entrepreneurialism consellera Ana Juan said the aim was “to give islanders—whether they’re freelancers or business owners; whether in a group that’s particularly vulnerable or working at a company that has laid off or furloughed staff—a one-stop shop for information on easing measures, government support and any other Covid-related updates”.

Visitors to the site will find up-to-date details about benefits from various levels of government, measures implemented by the Consell and other administrations and unfolding changes to numerous public services. It will also serve as a clearing house for information about the distinct phases of lockdown easing, with a section of the site additionally containing widely accessible graphics-based explanations of the phased de-escalation.

Information on the new section is broken down into breaking news, social assistance, rentals, workers, freelancers, business owners, mobility, culture and more.

Phone support seven days a week from 8.00am to 8.30pm

Since the crisis began, the Consell has maintained an information service at 971 32 10 87 to field inquiries related to the emergency. Now with newly dedicated personnel and expanded hours, the service will be available from Monday to Sunday, 8.00am to 8.30pm. Staff have also begun answering questions about benefits and the multiple phases of the plan to relax confinement restrictions.

3 May 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Consell de Formentera and sector leaders agree on economic roadmap through crisis

Alejandra Ferrer, Ana Juan and Bartomeu Escandell —the president, vice-president/trade chief and economy/tax office chief of the Consell, respectively— sat down today with representatives of the island’s small- and medium-sized business group, Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Hotels. Attendees discussed the roadmap of measures within local government jurisdiction which were hammered out with the sector in an effort to complement measures implemented by other levels of government like liquidity assistance for businesses and access to credit.

The Consell de Formentera has already announced it will not collect fees or taxes for the duration of the state of alarm. The period for voluntary payment of periodic taxes has also been extended until December 2020 for the following:

*Economic activity tax
*Special-characteristics real estate tax
*Rural real estate tax
*Urban real estate tax
*Mechanical traction vehicle tax
*Bicycle tax
*Occupation of public thoroughfare tax
*Waste collection tax
*Access rights for entrances/exits tax

Meeting attendees agreed that the Consell would implement the following measures:

Line of support for freelancers with commercial activity affected by emergency orders. The scope, scale and terms of assistance will be determined in accordance with available budget.

Line of support for small- and medium-sized businesses with commercial activity affected by emergency orders. The scope, scale and terms of assistance will be determined in accordance with available budget.

Extension of pay period to year’s end 2020 for fees associated with new tourism-related commercial enterprises and holiday rental permits.

Twelve-month extension of holiday rental permits.

Extension of the 2015-2019 plan for quality holiday rentals until 2022.

Full rebate on the public areas occupancy tax as it relates to itinerant markets. Vendors obliged to provide service.

Full rebate on the tax on terraces and other small-business use of public spaces from rollout of emergency orders to 31 December 2020. One-off elimination of compulsory minimums for commercial activity.

Thirty per cent reduction of coastal concessionnaires’ taxes. Reduction by coastal authority pending. Obligation to provide service.

Full rebate of tax on musical and other performances in establishments, one-off elimination of commercial activity compulsory minimums, easing of guidelines for mandated service provision.

Pending further review, assistance for financing costs due to debt from public health crisis-related drop in commercial activity.

Extension of construction execution periods and increasingly flexible extension request procedure.

One-off easing of summer works ordinance to allow commercial establishments to complete upgrades for summer season.

Full rebate of tax on dynamic advertising in taxis.

Urban improvement plan including provisions to hire local contractors and firms.

Other areas where negotiations will continue after initial agreements:

1- Blue Zone: At the outset, the work of parking attendants will remain key to ensuring vehicle rotation and sufficient parking in towns. Also crucial will be the establishment of vouchers for guests of overnight lodging or rollout of three-day parking allowance typically reserved for winter months.

2- Sustainable Tourism Tax: In order to ease the burden that direct estimations place on businesses, sustained pressure on the Govern will be crucial to ensuring a retooling of payment modalities on the basis of falling occupancy rates.

3- Pending decision by coastal authority re: parking fee collections, wait-and-see stance regarding entry checks at Ses Salines nature reserve. Area patrols and protections remain crucial.

4- Concerning reductions/rebates on real estate taxes and rubbish fees in 2020, these annual fees are calculated from 1 January, and authority to make such changes lies with the central government, which is therefore responsible for any delegating thereof that occurs this year.

Easing measures
At the meeting, representatives of the sector shared their thoughts about the early rollout of easing measures that Formentera and three of the Canary Islands will enjoy given low coronavirus case counts. Acting as an intermediary with the Govern balear, the Formentera Department of Trade will do its best to provide restaurant and hotel owners all information concerning safety measures during the easing process.

30 April 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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