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Consell unveils first package of economic and fiscal measures to limit economic and social sting of coronavirus health crisis

On behalf of the entire governing cabinet, Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer signed an initial decree ordering new economic and tax policy measures to contend with the social and economic toll of the coronavirus public health crisis. “Swift action is currently required at every level of public administration”, said the president, “not to mention a joint, coordinated strategy to deal with the fallout as efficiently as we can. The threat this virus poses to people’s health and wellbeing needs to be at the forefront of all our minds”.

In an effort to offer badly-needed financial relief to people and businesses, the Consell de Formentera is taking action, first, by suspending the following:

- Collection during the voluntary pay period, for which the Consell is responsible.
- Notifications concerning public revenue payments.
- Validation of lists detailing monthly tax and government-regulated fee collection.
- Referral to Balearic Islands Tax Office (ATIB) of public revenue payments outstanding as of voluntary pay period.

The Consell will petition the ATIB to extend of the period for voluntary payment via bank-to-bank transfer of recurring taxes (initially scheduled 1 August to 1 October). This includes 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

The decree likewise dictates that, from the invocation of the state of alarm through to its rescindment, applicability assessments of taxes and fees collected by the Consell de Formentera will cease. Such taxes and fees have not been referred to the ATIB for collection, save for those related to still-operational services considered essential.

Stimulus for family and social welfare support
Payout of social welfare and family support claims will be prioritised, as will payments to the administration’s service providers, without prejudice to priorities already set out in high-ranking regulatory guidelines. “We intend to look after the individuals and families whose situations entail true vulnerability”, said the president.

Necessary changes will also be made to tax ordinances and municipal service fees in an effort to mitigate the negative impact of the health crisis on local economic, social and productive structures.

“This first decree will be followed by others more specifically targeted and adapted to the circumstances. Insofar as the local government’s jurisdiction is concerned, extraordinary measures are in order as regards tax levying and public revenue collection. Our top priority is to lessen the fiscal knock-on effects borne by families and businesses, the aim being to facilitate a return to normalcy as soon as the public health situation improves.”

“Considering the grinding halt in which Formentera’s social and economic structures are currently locked, clearly very affected by the limitations imposed under the state of alarm, we propose this first package of economic measures”, said Ferrer, describing the steps as “products of the continuous back-and-forth between the various arms of local government, not to mention the island’s range of economic and business stakeholders. They are aimed at helping these actors attain maximum efficiency and adapt to the local economic reality.”

1 April 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Formentera Local Police write 30 tickets in days since state of alarm declared

Foto 2020 Control Poli SFerranAccording to the Formentera Department of Interior, local law enforcement have issued 30 citations to individuals who violated confinement orders laid out by the state of alarm proclamation. The local bureau of the central government is responsible for processing the infractions and determining corresponding fines. All the cases involved individuals who had left their house without a valid motive.

In the words of department chief Josep Marí, “we wish we hadn’t had to issue a single one of the thirty”. He added that Monday marked the rollout of increasingly restrictive state of alarm-related measures aimed at preventing as many transmissions as possible: “The only trips out of the house must be absolutely essential. And when we do go out, every single time we need to be following safety measures dutifully; not just for our own protection, but for other’s as well”.

1 April 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

To tackle Covid-19, Consell de Formentera pushes Govern balear to do more to inform, monitor, detect and control

In a letter sent today, Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer explained to the premier and health minister of the Govern balear, Francina Armengol and Patrícia Gómez, respectively, that since the invocation of the state of alarm, members of local law enforcement, firefighters and Civil Protection corps have been implementing control measures to see to it that restrictions put in place to prevent the local spread of Covid-19 are respected.

In recent days the island government has supplied the forces with protective equipment that’s key to their safety, however, as Ferrer pointed out in her missive, the very nature of such individuals’ work puts them at risk. The president underscored the profound importance of emergency responders’ protection, since an infection among their ranks could trigger “a drastic reduction of services and a stunting of local emergency responders’ reactive capacity”.

Formentera’s president detailed to the Balearic officials the local government’s voluntary registry of more than 300 recent arrivals—individuals who are tracked, given updates, and encouraged to call 061 if they present symptoms. The Formentera Department of Social Welfare contacts older islanders living alone and pitches in with tasks that pose particular challenges, while members of Civil Protection are due to make their own rounds to give elderly islanders information updates and check in, Ferrer said.

She likewise pointed out that Formentera’s sole Mobile Covid-19 Unit [UVAC] is meant to be tasked exclusively with home calls for patients with symptoms who present possible Covid-19 cases, and that the unit should also be assessing which cases warrant hospitalisation and ensuring proper monitoring of family members in order to control possible sources of infection.

The president pointed out that “Formentera has just one hospital and, should cases surge suddenly, we run the risk of seeing services overloaded and those in need of urgent care —both Covid-19 patients and individuals with unrelated care needs— neglected”. “It’s important we understand that a portion of Formentera’s healthcare workers come from Eivissa, and the infection risks inherent to travel mean that, whether workers are local or taking the ferry from Eivissa, keeping them safe is paramount to our hospital’s ability to continue functioning without becoming an infection source”.

Ferrer highlighted the following requests in her letter:

1. Closer monitoring of minor cases
Better and stricter control measures can be developed for essential staff whilst maintaining current protocol in which individuals presenting minor cases carry out confinement and self-isolation and are monitored via telephone, and hospital care is reserved for serious cases. Improvements can also be made to the way we monitoring of minor cases, strengthening our footing as we confront the situation today and enabling proper care for affected individuals.

2. Testing for the island’s emergency responders
A mechanism can be created without change to current protocol so that, similar to healthcare workers, emergency corps members with possible contagion exposure can be tested quickly and easily and continue performing their work safely.

3. More powerful Mobile Covid-19 Unit
The Formentera UVAC, created to treat homebound patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 or present symptoms consistent with it, should expand patient support so proper review of virus development can be ensured, increasing ease of mind for homebound individuals with symptoms and their families and preventing further spread.

4. Closer monitoring of recent arrivals
Individuals having arrived on the island from other locations should be subject to closer monitoring to make sure they respect measures in place and self-isolate as required.

5. More information from 061 emergency response and UVAC
Between the Consell de Formentera and local 061 emergency responders, more robust collaboration is needed around calls concerning possible Covid-19 cases. Key for the UVAC, meanwhile, is a closer monitoring of each case, particularly individuals who have tested positive, to keep the Consell informed while still respecting the confidentiality of sensitive information.

“We are asking for these measures because early detection, both in individuals close to confirmed positives and in suspected infections, can stem further spread of the virus and will help avoid overloading and endangering hospital services”, she said, offering a willing hand for “whatever the Govern balear might need as we tackle Covid-19.”

30 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Appealing to islanders’ civic sense, Consell urges proper waste disposal and issues reminder re: Covid-19 recommendations

foto 2020 contenidors1The Formentera Department of Environment reminds islanders that waste must be sorted and placed in bins by category: non-recyclable garbage in grey bins, paper and cardboard in blue, Tetra Briks, cans and plastics in yellow, and glass in green. Cleaning crews have signalled increasingly large rubbish piles found next to empty refuse collection points.

“Putting trash in the right bin isn’t just a question of aesthetics; it’s a key public health issue, both for those that empty the containers and clean our streets and for normal islanders as they try to use public dustbins”, said environment conseller Antonio J Sanz as he appealed to residents for cooperation. “A clean Formentera is everyone’s business”, he said.

The following municipal facilities have closed amid the coronavirus health crisis: Es Cap de Barbaria vehicle dismantling station, household waste recycling centre (Deixalleria), Es Cap de Barbaria transfer station for non-hazardous construction and demolition waste and garden clippings. The closures will remain in effect for the duration of the state of alarm.

The Department of Environment reminds islanders of recent action to ramp up sanitising efforts in busy public spaces, particularly immediately outside pharmacies, supermarkets, food shops, banks, etc.

Recommendations for handling rubbish at homes with Covid-19 patients
The Consell de Formentera reminds islanders of the Spanish Ministry of Health’s recommendation for handling rubbish at home.

Households where no one is infected or under quarantine are encouraged to sort waste as usual. In an effort to reduce the amount of waste that winds up at treatment plants, please remember, proper sorting of paper/cardboard, glass, plastics and organic waste if applicable is key. Please only place items in bins that correspond to the accepted items as listed.

Another important reminder: latex and nitrile gloves like those used on trips to the grocery store are not plastic and hence, must not be placed in plastics-only yellow containers.

According to the health ministry, households in which at least one of the members is infected with Covid-19 or under quarantine should dispose of the patient’s waste, including single-use objects like gloves, tissue paper and masks used by the patient, in a plastic bag-lined dustbin (BAG 1) which should be located in the patient’s room (if possible, the bin should have a lid and a foot-push lever). Waste sorting in these cases is unnecessary.

BAG 1 must be properly closed and placed inside another rubbish sack (BAG 2), which will in turn accommodate gloves and masks used by the caregiver. BAG 2 must be properly closed before being taken out of the room.

BAG 2 and its contents should be placed into the bag (BAG 3) containing the household’s non-organic and non-recyclable waste [labelled “resta” on bins]. After closing BAG 3, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for 40-60 seconds.

BAG 3 must be put into the general rubbish bin. Under no circumstance must these bags be placed in organic, plastics, paper, glass or fabric bins or left standing nearby.

31 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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