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Nightly 6.00pm closures at Illetes aimed at curbing beach parties and protecting nature reserve

foto 2021 access tancat cavall den borrasThe Consell de Formentera president’s office reports that points of access to Ses Salines Nature Reserve were closed for the first time at 6.00pm this Wednesday, putting to test a new coordinated effort between the company that oversees access to the reserve, Formentera Department of Mobility and local law enforcement.

After the success of Wednesday’s trials, access points were closed again yesterday and will remain closed for several days. “The goal is to curb the parties and crowds which in recent days had proliferated on beaches in this protected area”, explained local premiere Alejandra Ferrer. “It took us two days”, said the chief, “but we’re there”.

The decision was reached at a meeting of local law enforcement last Wednesday. An executive order released on the heels of that gathering mandates 6pm closures for all points of entry into the Illetes area of Ses Salines. After that point, guests may only exit the reserve unless they have reservations at a restaurant located on the premises.

Recent days have seen access points closed at Camí de sa Guía, Cavall d’en Borràs and Illetes, where crowds occurred. Access to the Llevant area hasn’t been affected, but on Saturday officials pledged “flexibility” and said they were open to extending the measures to new areas and keeping them in place longer if doing so kept the island “safe and protected”.

Informational posters
Awareness-building infographics have been printed in Catalan, Spanish and English and can be found at Tourist Info Points and on the websites of the Formentera Office of Tourism and Consell de Formentera.

Beaches are currently closed between 12 midnight and 6.00pm. Under the new rules, from tomorrow, Saturday, they will be closed from 10.00pm.

6 August 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Consell unlocks €133,000 in assistance for renters

cartell 2021 ajudes lloguerThe Formentera Department of Housing is pleased to report applications are now being accepted from individuals and families affected economically by the Covid-19 crisis. The assistance totals €133,000, and “the terms have been reworked and the requirements simplified to make them more inclusive”, explained Ana Juan, vice-president and housing councillor of the Consell de Formentera. “With this second round of assistance we’ve tried to reach more people and made the rules more flexible. We’ll keep putting all our resources to helping people contend with the problem of renting on Formentera”, said Ana Juan.

Envisioned as targetted aid, the assistance must be used to cover rent payments or rent-related debt from November 2020 to June 2021. Depending on applicants’ social and employment situation, assistance can reach a maximum of 3,600 euros.

Applicants must be over 18 and residents of Formentera, and have a minimum four-month rental contract between November 2020 and June 2021 with monthly payments not to exceed €1,200. Applicants must also be current with rent payments for the months between November 2020 and June 2021.

Twenty days to apply
As with the previous round of assistance, the Consell de Formentera has launched an information line at 971 32 10 87 to facilitate access to assistance and answer any related questions. Interested parties have until 2 September, or 20 business days, to apply for assistance through the Citizen Information Office (OAC) or the Virtual Citizen Information Office (OVAC).

Complete details about rules and terms have been published on the website of the Consell de Formentera. Applications will be processed in order they were received.

6 August 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Thursday from 6.00pm, Formentera shuts Illetes to curb beach parties and protect nature reserve

foto 2021 reunio seguretat estiu AEarlier today Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer chaired a gathering of the island’s security forces that was aimed at enhancing inter-agency coordination and charting a response to recent parties, crowds and violations of Covid restrictions.

Attendees featured representatives of the Civil Guard, Formentera Local Police, Formentera Inspection and Environment Service, Balearic Office of Emergencies and Environment, Spanish Coastal Authority and a group of local officials including deputy premiere and commerce chief Ana Juan, chief of interior Josep Marí, environment and inspections chief Antonio J. Sanz and mobility chief Rafael González.

After the meeting, President Ferrer announced a forthcoming presidential decree requiring closure of all access points to the Illetes area in Ses Salines Natural Reserve of Eivissa-Formentera. From tomorrow at 6.00pm, guests may exit freely, but cannot enter without reservations at a restaurant located on the reserve.

The measure was designed to address the island’s rising Covid-19 case count, as well as recent reports of gatherings —some with alcohol, some without— where Covid rules have been violated. The decree also cites cases of street vending and damage to the local ecosystem.

The new regulations will take effect Saturday, with beaches closing at 10.00pm, as opposed to 12 midnight, as previously.

President Ferrer insisted that, whereas visitors to Formentera are typically respectful of the environment and rules, the current season has seen the emergence of uncivic tourists who flout public health measures and the authority of law enforcement, as meeting participants themselves attested.

The island’s security forces pledged extraordinary efforts to implement the new provisions, which will see collaboration from FLP, the local, public safety and traffic arms of the Civil Guard and the Formentera Department of Mobility. In August, the Civil Guard’s aquatic and maritime units will provide additional help tackling drinks sales, unauthorised peddling, “party boats” and other arriving watercraft. Agents will also receive support from Formentera’s inspection and environment service.

The Balearic government has also vowed to send inspectors from the regional office of emergencies to enforce public health rules.

The president said attendees had also discussed the domino effect that the measure could have on other areas. “We’ll be flexible and if necessary these measures will be applied elsewhere too”, she said.

Message to public and business community
“Let’s be clear, we do not want the just paying for the sinners. We know most businesses are complying and trying to make it to the season’s end. The same goes for the islanders who endured a tough winter because they wanted to save their summer. Our intent is not to enact more restrictions, but we do want to stop offending behaviour that puts us at risk”. In that regard, Ferrer praised law enforcement for their hard work and applauded the business community and islanders for their patience. She also insisted the island’s government would “exhaust every means at our disposal to make the remaining 20 to 25 days in August safe. Nobody expects it to be easy, and it’s going to take the cooperation of one and all”.

Limited hours of operation
Additional talk revolved around preventing street drinking and crowds in Es Pujols and Sant Ferran, particularly at closing times. President Ferrer said the new restrictions on business hours would mean more work for law enforcement, and pledged to keep asking that protocol changes reflect consideration for Formentera’s reality on the ground: “It’s key to ensuring restrictions are effective and not counterproductive”, said the president, “otherwise they’ll be frustrating and unfair to the people and businesses that have been complying with them since the start of this pandemic”.

4 August 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

New Covid constraints on Formentera

foto 2021 noves mesures covid AConsell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer and the Councillor of Mobility and Housing, Josep Marí, outlined new pandemic containment measures that will be in force on Formentera and across the Balearics starting next weekend.

Main changes:
-No social or family gatherings between 1.00am and 6.00am, except among members of the same household.
-Beaches must remain closed from 10.00pm to 6.00am.
-Restaurants must close at 1.00am, one hour earlier than the current limit (pending possible revision per request by the president). Indoors, where diners were previously six to a table, there will be a four-to-a-table maximum (or an eight-to-a-table maximum on terraces, down from twelve-to-a-table).

Ferrer said both Formentera’s current case count of 109 and its cumulative incidence rate were running high, although she stressed the figures continued to reflect estimations that were based on resident numbers, not the real number of inhabitants currently. “The Consell has always defended the principle of coherent, fair and effective containment measures”, she said, “and this is a case where one of those measures needs tweaking”.

In particular, President Ferrer insisted on the need to rethink new restrictions on hours of operation at restaurants. “An hour less for this sector is a big deal”, she charged, “some will even consider closing”. The island’s top official cast doubt on whether mandating limited business hours would have the desired effect on Formentera, and suggested the move could in fact be counterproductive. “Closing time is when we see the streetside gatherings and private parties that we’re trying to curb”, said the president. “We need help from the restaurants and bars and we want to help them. The island generally has outdoor terraces where people can stay two metres apart, and we don’t think it’s fair to make people who follow the rules pay for the behaviour of a few who don’t”, she said.

Praise for law enforcement
President Ferrer applauded the crucial work of local security forces, particularly Formentera Local Police and the local bureau of inspections. “They’re doing a lot, but last week we asked the Balearic government for reinforcements because there’s not enough of them to conduct controls”, she said. Apart from pressing Palma for help enforcing labour and public health standards, the island’s government asked for additional manpower from the Balearic Directorate General of Emergencies and Interior (DCEI). “DCEI deployments on every island but Formentera are helping to ensure compliance with Covid constraints”, said the president.

President Ferrer closed by asking islanders to be responsible and applauded their efforts to date.

2 August 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Formentera asks for help from Balearic gov’t and vacation rental property owners in tackling rise in Covid cases

In a letter sent today by Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer to Balearic first minister Francina Armengol, the island’s top-ranking official said that dedicated staff would be essential to maintaining round-the-clock labour and public health inspections, insisting such “pre-pandemic” tasks remain crucial today. She also asked for help from the Balearic bureau of inspections and emergencies in tracking compliance with Covid-19 measures.

President Ferrer’s letter describes a situation of ever growing complexity in which “existing municipal regulations and ordinances have been made to accommodate a battery of regulations which are focussed specifically on stemming spread of Covid-19. Meanwhile, enforcement is undermined by staffing shortages amid ever greater numbers of people on the island. The absence of controls to effectively enforce rules about when businesses can and can’t open has given way to exceedingly serious cases of overcrowding, especially at beaches and in urban areas. Since no one is there to enforce business closures, the problem is sent further down the pike to the homes, hotels and apartments where people continue to flout Covid restrictions.

Under increased collaboration with the island’s tourism planning department, local law enforcement to will be able to access relevant data about owners of vacation rental properties. If a person renting a home throws an illegal party, police can ask the homeowners for the renter’s contact information, raising the possbility the person receives an associated fine in the future. Homeowners who choose not to supply the information will themselves face the fine. “If owners of vacation rental properties do their part to curb increasingly frequent house parties, we can ensure compliance with public health regulations and put a stop to surging cases”, said President Ferrer.

Drinking in the street
Pointing to increasingly frequent streetside revellers and crowds at beaches, Ferrer asked the Balearic government for a dedicated Covid detail on the island. Agents could go places where overcrowding is frequent, Ferrer offered, and perform outreach before the situation becomes problematic. “We’re also extremely concerned about the return of ‘party boats’ and watercraft peddling alcohol at sea and on beaches”, added the president.

Ferrer closed by highlighting recent expansions and reinforcements to the island’s Civil Guard service including new safety and traffic units. Both will coordinate with Formentera Local Police, she said, insisting exceptional circumstances meant additional support would be crucial.

30 July 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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