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Alejandra Ferrer sends wishes for fast recovery of two islanders who tested positive for coronavirus, asks entire island for unity, cooperation

Speaking on behalf of the local cabinet, Consell de Formentera chief Alejandra Ferrer directed a message at the entire island in the wake of the two first confirmed cases of coronavirus on Formentera, but not before expressing her hope that the pair would manage a speedy recovery.

“We’re sending all our encouragement to these first two Formentera inhabitants to be affected by Covid-19, as well as to their families and friends”, she said, directing a special appeal for strength at the individual in intensive care with uncertain prognosis at Can Misses hospital. Ferrer hoped for a “speedy recovery” of the second individual, now in isolation at home with comparatively minor symptoms and being monitored by the Mobile Coronavirus Unit (UVAC).

The regional health office has confirmed that “in line with protocol, health authorities have contacted those living with the patients to make sure control measures like full isolation are being followed to avoid new transmissions”.

“Our best wishes go out to everyone affected, particularly those in serious condition, whether they’re here in the Balearics, in Spain or worldwide. These are very trying times for a great portion of the global population. To those affected and their loved ones, you have our strength.”

“The current health crisis is global”, Ferrer pointed out, adding islanders have already been operating under the assumption that cases could appear here, “and now, that’s unfortunately where we’re at. The whole island has been preparing for this and followed confinement measures dutifully in the previous weeks, but now we’re asking you to be even more vigilant so we can be sure we’re limiting the local spread as much as humanly possible.”

Ferrer asserted, “We need to be meticulous about our compliance with the safety measures that have come with the state of alarm. Following on yesterday’s ratcheting up of protocol, today we have an absolute freeze on all activity the central government hasn’t deemed essential. More islanders will be staying home from work tomorrow and helping do their part to get through this crisis by avoid contact and trips outside”.

The president applauded doctors, health workers and the staff of the Formentera Hospital and Can Misses for their efforts, and proclaimed, “Now more than ever, we need to remain calm and trust that the measures adopted by authorities will be effective and that we’ll get through this thing fast and limiting the human toll as much we can”.

29 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Formentera fire brigade to salute local children and youth

foto 2020 bombers aplaudimentBarring any unforeseen events, Formentera’s firefighters have indicated that between this evening and tomorrow evening they will pay special tribute to island youngsters holed up at home. The gesture is part of the brigade’s decision to join a movement started on social media and messaging platforms to organise rounds of applause for all the children who for the last two weeks have been unable to leave their houses.

Members of the emergency response unit will crisscross the towns of the island in two of the brigade’s fire engines, sending a message of encouragement set to a medley of songs for youth. As the crew wraps up its run, they’ll switch on Aires Formenterencs’ Visc a Formentera [I live on Formentera] — a message of strength and encouragement for the whole island.

The fire brigade will trace the following route:

Saturday, from 6.00pm, La Savina – Sant Francesc & Ses Bardetes

Sunday, from 6.00pm, Es Pujols, Sant Ferran, Es Caló and La Mola.

28 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Thank you card from the president of the Consell de Formentera to children and youth of the island

foto 2020 carta als jovesDear friends,

You’ve been stuck at home for two weeks now. We know this isn’t easy, so as president of the Consell de Formentera and on behalf of the entire local governing team, I’m writing this message especially for the children and youth of Formentera.

The weekend of 14-15 March was a different one. You left classes on Friday knowing you wouldn’t be back for weeks. You’d been hearing about coronavirus for a few days already; your parents and teachers had likely already talked to you about the new illness, Covid-19, and the need to take steps to avoid its spread.

And then suddenly, you’re faced with measures that are extremely difficult and, at first blush, difficult to understand. And it wasn’t just schools that were closing; the cinema and Casal de Joves shut their doors too, extracurricular activities were cancelled and you were stuck at home.

The strangeness began that first weekend. Your parents told you that you couldn’t go outside. Not even to see your grandparents, get groceries, go to the beach, hang out with friends or sweethearts; not even to do exercise or play in the town square or at the park.

And it’s stayed that way since then, day in and day out, as if you were grounded. No, you’re not grounded, no. By staying inside we’re battling a virus that’s forced drastic decisions worldwide; you’re experiencing the first-hand effects right now.

Every day you’re making a huge effort by doing schoolwork from home. And I know you miss your classmates, your teachers, your friends and your routines. Your normal classes have become online classes, your parents have to help you with home- and classwork and, worse still, many of them —those that aren’t stuck working from home like you— have to keep going in to work. Keep in mind that all of this is new and difficult for adults, too.

You, the children and youth of Formentera, are showing us how it’s done. In each and every home you serve as lessons in patience and effort. I’m sure you’ll find a way to make the most of the extra time with your families. And, for Formentera’s youngest, I hope that new tools in digital communication are helping you keep in touch with the friends who are so important to you.

But effort, strength and smarts aside, it’s totally normal to have moments where you feel like giving up. If you do, I want you to know I’m here by your side to help you get back up. And if you’re worried about something, you can tell me about it in an email, at presidencia@conselldeformentera.cat.

And remember, above all, that when we come out on the other side of this thing that has turned our little world upside down, we’ll be stronger. Don’t doubt it for a second.

Alejandra Ferrer Kirschbaum
President, Consell de Formentera
27 March 2020

Amid health crisis, Formentera underscores rights of workers, freelancers and businesses

cartell 2020 campanya govern 1Given the stinging blow local businesses and workers face in light of the state of alarm surrounding the Covid-19 health emergency, the Consell de Formentera wishes to remind islanders of a number of their rights and some of the region- and nationwide measures that have been taken.

In the areas where it has authority, the Consell, for its part, is rigging up a host of measures to make things easier on islanders, chiefly for those most at-risk and groups that stand to be hit hardest. Some measures will involve taxes, permits and licences.

Businesses, freelancers and employees
The most important thing to remember in the current situation is that employers can neither terminate staff nor force them to use holiday time, which must be agreed with workers’ representatives. Remote work and flexible scheduling are among the measures recommended for companies whose operations continue.

For businesses and self-employed individuals, ISBA and ISCO have set up a series of one-off liquidity lines in a bid to shore up liquidity. If a freelancer’s professional activity dries up as a result of the state of alarm, or if total invoices drop more than 75% compared to the previous quarter, benefits can be requested for the duration of the emergency. Such individuals will also pay into Social Security for the length of the crisis. Tax payments on quarterly earnings declarations normally scheduled between 13 March and 30 May 2020 are likewise postponed.

Temporary layoffs
Any business wishing to place employment contracts on hold must file the corresponding temporary redundancy paperwork. Such a measure either entails short-term suspension of a contract or reduced hours. Employees with permanent seasonal contracts must also be accounted for in any temporary redundancy cases: businesses are obliged, on the pre-arranged date, to contact any employees who weren’t notified when a layoff was agreed on, and incorporate these individuals into the temporary redundancy plan.

Employees of companies that submit temporary redundancy plans need not take any special steps: these individuals will be automatically enrolled in the Employment Service of the Balearic Islands (SOIB) and benefit payout will be automatic too.

Temporary layoffs must be negotiated with workers’ representatives and, when the previously agreed-upon time elapses, staff are re-employed under the terms of current contracts.

During the temporary layoff, workers are eligible for provisional unemployment benefits unrelated to typical unemployment benefits. Individuals facing temporary layoffs receive 70% of their average pay-in over the last 180 days of work (or the 180 days prior to coronavirus-interrupted activity), and benefits will continue the length of the temporary layoff. Technically speaking, workers will remain employees of the company for the duration of the disrupted activity.

The Govern balear has created the online portal www.caib.es/sites/coronaviruseconomia/ca/portada so that freelancers, business owners and employees can get answers questions that might arise amid the current situation.

With pension payments due to be issued in the days ahead, the Consell de Formentera wishes to urge individuals who receive pensions, as an at-risk group, to avoid personal contact unless absolutely necessary. Individuals are advised to use outdoor ATMs instead of going inside banks, and to continue following hygiene measures, namely, by refraining from touching one’s face and washing hands as soon as one arrives at home.

25 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Consell continues offering complete catalogue of services on web portal, creates special e-mail address and WhatsApp number for questions

Foto 2020 OVACThe Consell de Formentera reports that, amid the current public health crisis, one of the first steps taken was to halt in-person support at the Citizen Information Office (OAC) to limit the number of visits and minimise personal contact between employees and between employees and islanders.

New technologies consellera Vanessa Parellada pointed out that “all the services typically accessed at the OAC are also offered online on the Virtual Citizen Information Office (OVAC, https://ovac.conselldeformentera.cat)”.

To make things easier for islanders, the following contact numbers have also been made available should questions or issues arise:

E-mail: oac@conselldeformentera.cat
WhatsApp: 687209618

The OAC switchboard can be reached, now until 8.30pm, at 971321087.

“OAC personnel are either in at the office, albeit with doors closed to the public, or working from home and responding to inquiries over the phone and by email”, said general services conseller Bartomeu Escandell, who applauded local government employees for “swiftly adapting to ensure uninterrupted and high-quality service”. “They’re answering phones, WhatsApp messages and e-mails”, indicated Escandell, “and if you leave a phone number, they’ll call back and help in any way possible”.

The secretariat additionally reports that the switchboard can also process transactions via fax, at 971322556.

23 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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