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Alejandra Ferrer’s letter on new Covid measures

Amid an increasingly alarming epidemiological situation on the island, earlier today Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer sent a letter to Balearic first minister Francina Armengol to push for new measures to slow the exponential spread of local infections.

Ferrer pointed to a worsening state of affairs in arguing for screenings of broad swaths of Formentera to help pinpoint and isolate the virus effectively. The president reiterated previous calls for efficient and fast-acting contact tracers to reduce the mobility of infected individuals’ close contacts.

“The coherent thing to do”, continued Ferrer, “is to compliment the battery of measures taken so far with new restrictions and more expansive tools so we can detect asymptomatic cases, isolate them and trace their close contacts”.

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21 January 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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SRA. FRANCINA ARMENGOL
PRESIDENTA DEL GOVERN DE LES ILLES BALEARS
CARRER DE LA LLOTJA, 3
07012 PALMA (ILLES BALEARS)

Madame First Minister,

Our island’s epidemiological situation is increasingly dire. Active Covid cases today total one hundred, 17 of which are new infections, while just seven days ago it was half that number. Such being the case, we are obliged to request new measures to curb this exponential rise in infections.

Since early December we have asked for controls on inter-island travel and measures to reduce individuals’ movement in the run-up to the holidays and curtail contact between people from different households and stable bubbles. Last week we requested Formentera be sealed off but the virus has found a foothold on the island and is now spreading between residents.

We believe is it crucial that no effort be spared as we attempt to effectively curtail mobility and social gatherings to stem the spread of the epidemic.

Formentera’s epidemiological data is troubling and an increasing number of our hospital beds are occupied.

We mustn’t forget that Formentera and Eivissa share a Department of Health, and both island’s epidemiological situations contribute to increasing pressure on healthcare services, both here and on Eivissa.

For the above reasons and in view of the worsening state of affairs, we feel that screenings of broad swaths of Formentera are key to pinpointing and isolating the virus effectively. I wish to reiterate my previous calls for efficient and fast-acting contact tracers to reduce the mobility of infected individuals’ close contacts.

When we first made these requests in December, we were told that such a screening wasn’t commensurate to Formentera’s numbers. Based on the current situation and in light of the speed of infections in recent weeks, the coherent thing to do is to compliment the battery of measures taken so far with new restrictions and more expansive tools so we can detect asymptomatic cases, isolate them and trace their close contacts.

We ask for measures adapted to our situation, and for solidarity between the islands.

As always, we will collaborate on everything in our power to ensure compliance with related measures and controls.

Cordially,

Alejandra Ferrer Kirschbaum
President, Consell de Formentera

Consell unveils Covid-19 information stand

foto 2021 punt info CovidThe Consell de Formentera has opened a stand in Sant Francesc’s Plaça de la Constitució where islanders can ask questions and get up-to-date information on new Covid-19 measures.

Set up in one of the huts erected in the plaza at Christmas-time, the info point is staffed by a team that was contracted through the Formentera Entrepreneurism Department-run SOIB Reactiva programme. Additional agents are on hand at La Savina port to supply details about recent measures to seal off the island and making rounds at local towns to give islanders Covid-19-related information.

SOIB Reactiva
To date SOIB Reactiva 2020 has meant employment for 15 individuals.
Four-month missions began 23 December, creating an opportunity for the previously unemployed individuals to leverage capacity building to bolster future employability.

Among the new recruits are six under-30s contracted as administrative assistants and three long-term jobless over-30s hired as cleaners. Six over-30s registered with the regional job seekers’ service for at least three months (fewer in the case of furloughed islanders) have been employed as well: four as information assistants and two as brigade members.

Phase two of the programme will find the Consell de Formentera recruiting another 12 individuals. The total programme budget is €225,810.44 and will mean employment for 27 jobless.

SOIB Reactiva 2020 is backed by the Balearic Job Seekers’ Office and cofinanced by the European Social Fund as part of the Operational Youth Employment Programme (2014-2020), by the Spanish National Sectorial Conference and by the Sustainable Tourism Levy Fund.

19 January 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Crews cap restoration of La Mola windmill sweeps

foto 2021 moli Vell la Mola 1The Formentera heritage office reports that after roughly two months of work, restoration on assorted parts of the old La Mola windmill is now complete. Workers are expected to finish mounting pieces of the structure that were restored last week.

Full restoration operations were deemed necessary after the heritage office and Balearic Islands Foundation reported that wind and the elements had left two of the lighthouse’s six pinewood sweeps in a deteriorated state. One sweep snapped as crews performed preparatory work, bringing two more sails along with it and prompting the decision to remove the windmill’s wind-catching apparatuses so the ensemble could be secured, allowing for improved visitor safety and a more thorough assessment of restoration needs.

To the extent possible, meticulous restoration operations respected craftsmanship and materials of the original structure. For instance, slender and straight pine trees were selected to replicate the sails, or sweeps, in need of replacement.

Efforts were led by Francesc Torres ‘Moliner’ and Jaume Escandell d’en Ferrer — individuals with knowledge and experience in similar operations, and who in the past worked with the previous miller, Joan Torres Mayans ‘Moliner’, to restore other windmills in the Pine Islands.

Safeguarding windmills
“Restoration was considered a priority given the poor state of conservation of several of the windmill’s structural elements”, said heritage councillor Raquel Guasch, highlighting the Formentera government’s efforts “to guarantee protection of the La Mola windmill”. In November 2019 members of local government voted to begin the process of designating La Mola’s molí vell (old mill) a monument of special cultural interest. Attendees of another plenary gathering, this time in July of last year, voted to extend protections around the windmill with “more innovative safeguards consistent with the reality of the physical surroundings”. In the words of the local heritage chief, “the goal is to ultimately accord ‘cultural interest site’ status to every windmill on the island”.

Last year the Consell de Formentera signed a rental agreement with Balearic Islands Foundation, which owns the windmill, giving local government direct control over opening hours and visits for the next six years.

The “Molí Vell de la Mola” will once again open to the public this Saturday, with winter hours —weekends from 10.00am to 2.00pm— in effect until May. Admission is free.

18 January 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Formentera restricts movement onto and off island

foto 2021 sortides restringidesConsell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer and Balearic government spokeswoman Pilar Costa announced a sealing off of the island from tomorrow, 16 January. Arrivals and exits will be limited, with permission restricted to individuals who can demonstrate travel is work- or medical-related or for other authorised motives.

President Ferrer said the measures aimed not only to protect Formentera residents but also to form a common front and collaborate to keep Eivissa and Formentera’s health services from collapse. “It’s crucial we make it to summer on the most stable footing possible if we want local tourism to recover”, said the premiere, asserting, “An appropriate response now is essential to smooth vaccination operations, which will be key to tackling the pandemic and getting things back to normal”.

The president added that the option currently available was to activate tier 4 restrictions, which would entail shutting down all cafés, bars and restaurants and prohibiting social contacts, or adopt measures to enable a continuation of tier 3 protocol. Ferrer said the latter would only work if infection numbers stayed at their current level. “As we know, things can change extremely quickly”, she said.

Though the epidemiological situation on Formentera today is better than on the rest of the islands, President Ferrer insisted the overall picture was far from rosy. “We’re asking islanders once again to be responsible and collaborate”, she said. “In the weeks ahead we have to keep our interactions to an absolute minimum if we want to return to relative stability, both on the island and further afield.”

Special controls at Formentera port
Local law enforcement will be performing controls at the island’s ferry terminal and at the Eivissa harbour as needed. President Ferrer asked the Civil Guard to collaborate with Formentera Local Police and representatives of municipal government stationed at the port to apprise people of the new restrictions.

The Consell de Formentera information switchboard (971.32.10.87) will be reactivated as well, with personnel monitoring cases to ensure that new arrivals self-isolate and keep contact to an absolute minimum. Other recommendations include:

- Avoid even authorised travel between islands, prioritising remote work and postponing travel whenever possible.
- Refrain from face-to-face business, encouraging virtual gatherings instead.
- Reduce social and family gatherings.
- Keep household bubbles limited.
- Respect safety measures (masks, social distancing, hygiene, ventilation...).
- Prioritise outdoor activities and gatherings.
- Respect tier 3 public health protocol.
- If you think you have been in close contact with an infected individual or if you believe you have symptoms, SELF-ISOLATE and inform your employers if you are working.

Quarantining is required in the following cases:
If you have tested positive for Covid-19
If you have not yet been tested
If you are awaiting test results
If you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive

The new measures will remain in place until 30 January at the earliest, with documentation required to accredit the following essential travel:

a) Visits to healthcare centres, hospitals or veterinary clinics.
b) Work-related travel.
c) Travel to school, university or other educational centres.
d) Return to domicile or family residence.
e) Care for the elderly, minors, people with disabilities or at-risk individuals.
f) Travel to financial and insurance institutions.
g) Mandatory or urgent appearances before public, legal or notarial institutions.
h) Renewals of permits and official documents, or other administrative formalities that cannot be postponed.
i) Official exams that cannot be postponed.
j) Instances of force majeure or other essential situations. Duly accredited travel to and from ports and airports is also permitted, as is travel to certain federated sporting events.
k) Any other similar and duly accredited activity.

Posters have also been printed to inform islanders of the new rules.

15 January 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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