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Formentera enters tier 3, with outdoor seating at 50% capacity and six-person groups OK to gather from 2 March

foto 2021 noves mesuresConsell de Formentera chief Alejandra Ferrer sat down today with Balearic health and consumption minister Patricia Gómez to assess the state of covid-19-related affairs and gauge the impact of preventive measures to date. Deputy chiefs Ana Juan, Susana Labrador and Rafael Ramírez were on hand as well, together with Balearic Health Department assistant director of hospital care, Francesc Albertí, and Eivissa-Formentera Health Office manager, Carmen Santos.

Later in press conference Ferrer and Gómez announced plans to introduce tier 3 public health orders from Tuesday 2 March, with the local premiere contrasting the island’s 170 active cases at the start of February to the seven-person case count today (“all have received primary care and no one is currently hospitalised”, she pointed out). The figures mean Formentera can loosen restrictions, said the premiere, “but we’re far from a place where we can forget about public health protocol”.

Tier 3 rules from 2 March
Social and family get-togethers limited to six individuals from no more than two distinct households
Until 6.00pm bars and restaurants can offer outdoor seating at half capacity, max. four to a table and two households
“Sealing off” of entry and exit points continues
10.00pm-to-6.00am curfew remains

Building awareness
President Ferrer asked islanders to be mindful that in the previous seven days Covid-19 had claimed yet another local victim, pushing the pandemic-wide total to six on Formentera, 691 across the Balearics and 68,468 nationwide. “We can hide behind excuses like age and pre-existing conditions, but many of these people would still be here with us if not for this disease .”

“As the island prepares to take restrictions down a notch, it’s important to note that we’ll do it with respect, responsibility, solidarity and, not least, experience”, said Ferrer. “Today’s step forward mustn’t be cause for tomorrow’s step back.”

Ferrer insisted the de-escalation of Covid-19 control measures had to be gradual — “so we don’t get caught in a fourth wave that jeopardises our health, the summer tourist season and a broad push for vaccination. Our priority is an immunity rate that lets us reopen and regain freedom of movement, for the sake of our everyday freedoms and for the sake of economic recovery”.

Vaccination push
Ferrer said government and health authorities were collaborating at every level to execute the essential vaccination push, insisting “regular islanders” would get their turn after vulnerable people, health workers, seniors and key workers. “But we need vaccines to get here”, she continued, “and for production and distribution to be fast.”

The premiere called on “all corners of government to do what’s needed to get vaccines delivered”, insisting the heavily tourism-dependent nature of the Balearic economy made the matter even more pressing. “Twelve months into the pandemic, uncertainty has pushed business to the brink and hospital workers to physical exhaustion, and the rest of us are worn-out and scared too”, she said. “Getting this vaccine here and organising its rollout will take teamwork and compliance with safety protocol.”

25 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Consell takes Balearic Islands Day celebration online

cartell 2021 dia illesThis 1 March, the Consell de Formentera will host a web-based celebration of Balearic Islands Day (Dia de les Illes Balears). Virtual revellers can tune in to the Consell de Formentera YouTube channel from 10.00am to hear remarks from presidenta Alejandra Ferrer, plus see a social media-ready video tribute to the hometown dance troupes Es Xacoters and Es Pastorells.

One year shy of the colles’ last public performance, the Consell offers up its own humble tribute —a virtual demo with dancers’ explanations of how they’ve spent the twelve months of pandemic— in hopes the troupes will soon be dancing again.

24 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Consell d’Entitats weighs formentera.eco scheme to regulate in-bound vehicles

foto 2021 CdE 1Members of the island’s league of civic leaders gathered yesterday at 7.30pm to take stock of 2020 figures for formentera.eco and assess the latest plan to limit vehicles on the island. When the Consell d’Entitats reconvenes next Monday, attendees will share feedback from respective groups and render their verdict concerning the project’s definitive approval.

With enhanced tier 4 public health orders in place, in-person participants at the encounter were limited to Consell de Formentera chief Alejandra Ferrer, mobility chair Rafael González, citizen participation chair Vanessa Parellada, a clerk and a senior Formentera Department of Citizen Participation staffer. Representatives of civic groups and political parties, together with members of the media, tuned in online.

Over thirty association members logged on for the Consell d’Entitats’ first treatment of formentera.eco. President Ferrer applauded the strong showing, calling the turn-out “crucial to making sure Formentera’s longstanding march toward sustainability is shaped by both political and economic stakeholders”. Ferrer confided that “2020 was very tough, and 2021 will be too”, but asserted abandoning hard-fought gains was a non-starter: “Backpedaling on our vision for Formentera is out of the question.”

Ferrer pointed to “unique visitor experience” as imperative, and said the secret to Formentera’s setting itself apart lay in “protecting heritage sites, traditions, culture and our physical landscapes”. “Vibrant tourism and a growing economy need to translate to better quality of life for Formentera residents”, insisted the première, “and to get there, projects like formentera.eco are essential.”

formentera.eco 2020
Presentation of 2020 formentera.eco figures fell to the Formentera Department of Mobility chief Rafael González. One year prior to the scheme’s rollout, local legislators aspired to ultimately see a 16% drop, punctuated by yearly -4% benchmarks, in the total number of in-bound vehicles, intending for the figure to be reached gradually over the 2020-2024 term. All told, 19,725 motorists got the green-light from formentera.eco in 2020, just shy of the established maximum of 21,487.

For twenty days starting 5 August and in the heat of the summer rush, visiting motorists claimed more than 95% of the total permits available to them (formentera.eco authorisations ran out altogether for the four-day period starting 13 August). The island generally managed to avoid maxing out entirely, Ramírez said, highlighting the decision to lower the permit ceiling for resident drivers in an effort to temper fallout from the pandemic. As the councillor put it, “What the figures show is that, the Covid crisis notwithstanding, regulation is still necessary”.

formentera.eco 2021
Proposal terms as communicated to Consell d’Entitats:
-4% ceiling reduction (relative to 2020 figures)
2019: 22,382
2020: 21,486
2021: 20,591
-Regulatory period subject to discussion:
Option 1: Last week in June until first week in September
Option 2: July and August
-Fee-based or free of charge?

Free advance reservations can be made in the permit request section of the formentera.eco site, expected to go online again in March. Bookings will be finalised in May and, pending developments of the pandemic, will be free or subject to payment. Permits are guaranteed for travellers with bookings for overnight accommodations or arrangements to travel with a personal vehicle made before March.

Sustainable mobility
By González’s lights, “the formentera.eco endgame is a brand of sustainable mobility where foot traffic, bikes and public transport all gain ground against cars”. He pointed to a number of routes forward on the path to sustainability:

Public transport
-€100,000 to restore Formentera public transport to the 2019, pre-Covid level.
-Free rides for people under 18 and dependent individuals plus companions.
-Public transport by taxi: engage chauffeurs’ association in discussion of proposed increase in seasonal licences as needed. Ride-hailing services prohibited.
Promoting bicycles
-Complete bike lane in Port of La Savina.
-Encourage pedestrian and bicycle travel on Camí de sa Guia between La Savina and Ses Illetes.
-Revamp parking and expand cycling zones at Ses Salines reserve.
-Encourage pedestrian and cyclist travel on Camí des Brolls linking La Savina and Sant Francesc with Es Pujols.
-Subsidies on purchases of traditional and electric bikes. (€15,000 in funding already available).
-Website and app Próximo Ferry provides arriving travellers with information about public buses
-Local sustainable mobility and formentera.eco information stand in Port of La Savina.
-“Metrominut” maps/leaflets featuring distances and travel times between Port of La Savina and Ses Illetes/Es Pujols/Sant Francesc to promote pedestrian and cycling options.

16 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Gathering of committee tasked with regulating and promoting tourism

foto 2021 COPTAt a gathering earlier today of the COPT, a local body whose purview includes regulating and promoting tourism, Consell de Formentera premiere Alejandra Ferrer and head of tourism marketing Carlos Bernús sat down with representatives of the Formentera Association of Hotels, the Chamber of Commerce, the local league of small- and medium-sized businesses (Pimef), the Confederation of Business Associations in the Balearics (CAEB), travel agencies and other local tourism industry figures as well as political party leaders.

President Ferrer unpacked the current situation surrounding the Covid-19 crisis, starting with the response by local government in the pandemic’s early days and before emergency orders were first invoked, going on to chart steps to loosen stay-at-home rules and reopen the island to regional, national and finally international tourism. She spoke about a potential path toward a new de-escalation of lockdown orders in place today and about the start of the tourist season, and concluded her remarks about 2020 by highlighting the local tourism sector’s “enormous efforts to adapt to the new public health orders that came last summer”.

Ferrer proceeded by unveiling local government’s draft plans for economic recovery in 2021. The tourism sector will have a fortnight to review the plan, present it to their associates and share their own proposals in a forthcoming meeting.

Though from these collective efforts will emerge a definitive document, President Ferrer insisted that “as with everything else since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the plan won’t be set in stone. It will be tailored on an ongoing basis to the state of affairs in public health and the restrictions in place at any given point in time”.

Working document
As President Ferrer indicated, the three-part document starts with a stock-taking of public health measures, controls and information in 2020 as well as proposals to make Formentera a safe-as-possible destination in summer 2021. Finance and tax office councillor Bartomeu Escandell, also at the meeting, gave a run down of the document’s second section, which concerns economic measures to palliate effects of the pandemic-linked crisis engulfing tourism today. Carlos Bernús concluded remarks by exploring the document's third section, ‘Destination, marketing and model of tourism’, which analyses the island’s weaknesses and opportunities and discusses steps to readapt the island’s 2021 tourism marketing strategy.

9 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Consell awards 25 grants valued at €210,339 to safeguard local cultural heritage

foto 2021 paret secaThe Formentera Heritage Department reports that the Consell will deliver €210,339 in 25 grants (€100.144 for upkeep of drystone walls, €44,509 for work on cultural heritage landmarks and €65,787 for burial of overhead utility cables) to islanders who answered a call to rehabilitate assets of local heritage.

Heritage councillor Raquel Guasch said last year’s announcement of funding to preserve and enhance monuments received wave of interest, indicating that “in addition to preserving our history, these grants are about islanders feeling supported by the administration and feeling a shared sense of responsibility to safeguard our local heritage”.

Only five of thirty submissions were turned down, mostly because work being proposed wasn’t covered in terms. Grantees have 24 months from the date assistance is announced (or permits are delivered) to perform upgrades and supply proof of completion.

5 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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