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Entry checks begin on island in compliance with state of alarm

foto 2020 control portThe Guardia Civil began controlling new arrivals to Formentera today, with two agents posted near the exit ramp checking that people coming to the island were doing so in compliance with the restrictions included in the State of Alarm. The proclamation prohibits entry to all but those with a job or home on the island and expressly bans leisure travel, such as by tourists.

The island’s president applauded the latest precautionary and containment-oriented measure in response to Covid-19, pointing out that the step had been taken the request of local government. “This is something our inhabitants and business owners have been pleading for”, said Alejandra Ferrer. “Based on the State of Alarm proclamation, we can begin protecting our people by filtering access to the island given the current health crisis”.

Ferry operators have been providing minimum services between Formentera and Eivissa since Saturday to assure the arrival of goods, though all but essential travel remains prohibited. Under the current scaled back service, ten daily journeys happen in each direction and controls are performed, but the Consell de Formentera and Govern balear are in talks to reduce the frequency further still.

Logging data
Last Friday the Consell de Formentera began keeping a register of the individuals who have arrived on the island in recent days. It also issued an appeal to new arrivals to contact the island’s government by calling 971321087 to provide personal information. The Consell furnished the coronavirus safety protocol and stated it would monitor individuals as well as offer any necessary help. To date 138 recently arrivals from at-risk areas have arrived on the island and contacted the Consell.

Yesterday ferry operators began distributing a questionnaire put together by the Consell to all travellers, ensuring their details could be recorded and preventive measures, protocol and imperatives included in the State of Alarm could be explained before they disembarked. The information collected will also be shared with the relevant health authorities so each case can be monitored.

On behalf of the entire team of cabinet councillors, President Ferrer thanked the people of Formentera for their responsibility and commitment. “To the businesses that closed, and to those still open and providing basic necessities; to the security forces who are enforcing the imperatives of these unusual circumstances; to the workers who are so understandingly adapting their timetables and tasks; to those working from home; of course, to the health workers on the front lines; to all the youth, young children, families and elderly who are staying home. Thanks to the individual commitment of islanders and the collective effort that Formentera has always been so good at, we look forward to getting back to normal soon. Thank you all.

16 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Formentera’s beaches, children’s parks and recreational facilities off limits, reminds Consell

foto 2020 parc la savinaFaced with the ongoing developments around Covid-19, one repercussion of which was the proclamation of state of alarm included in Royal Decree 463/2020 of 14 March, the Consell de Formentera reminds residents that beaches, children’s parks and recreational spaces on the island are currently closed.

Over the weekend, local law enforcement began sealing off and posting signage in these areas to remind islanders of the closures. As announced to Formentera businesses and residents on the first day, violation of the imperative can carry anything from minor to more serious fines.

16 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Formentera logs new arrivals and pleads with authorities to start port checks immediately

foto 2020 Estat AlarmaThe Consell de Formentera reports that from today ferry companies will give all passengers arriving on Formentera a questionnaire so that a log can be created with personal data, contact information, provenance, reason of visit and expected date of departure, as the case may be. Pamphlets will be distributed with urgent measures under the state of alarm and other Covid-19 containment measures, and travellers will be asked to voluntarily self-isolate.

The pamphlet has been in the works since Friday, when the Formentera began urging recent arrivals to contact the island’s government by phoning 971321087. Besides receiving the same information that is currently being dispatched to ferry companies, callers will be asked to voluntarily self-isolate. Since rollout of the safety mechanism, 110 calls have been received from persons recently arrived on Formentera from varying affected areas.

Harbour checks
The Consell de Formentera will use the lists to monitor each new arrival’s case, periodically reaching out to see if individuals are experiencing urgent needs and if they are well. Alejandra Ferrer, president of the island government, described it as a temporary measure while the people of Formentera “wait for national agencies and security forces to begin implementing checks at our port of entry”. “The administration has been urgently pleading with the relevant government agencies and it is our understanding that efforts are under way to that end.”

Speaking to residents and business owners who have voiced frustration over the absence of more restrictive entry measures or controls on new arrivals, Ferrer pointed out the Consell’s lack of jurisdiction in Port de la Savina, an area that is controlled by national and regional authorities. “We’ve been asking for control over entry from day-one”, said the president, “and yesterday we managed to activate minimum services regulations that make controlling entry a little easier”. Officials are currently looking at ways to reduce ferry connections even further.

The island’s president insisted that transport of goods of basic necessity would continue guaranteed, and asked residents to heed the state of alarm by staying home and leaving the house only when strictly necessary. “We’re working to see to it that during these times of public health crisis Formentera remains the safest island possible. And if everyone steps up to a part of personal responsibility, it will help us do that.” “Commendable” was how she described the efforts and understanding of residents and local business owners, both of whom are on the hook for measures under the state of alarm, and she acknowledged that the current moment was “a difficult one, but we hope to be going back to normal in the weeks ahead”. Ferrer also had a word of thanks for “our healthcare workers, who are literally risking their lives to keep us safe”.

15 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

In bid to contain Covid-19, Eivissa-Formentera ferries begin minimum service today

The Consell de Formentera reports that for two weeks starting today and in a measure aimed at containment of Covid-19, ferry service between Formentera and Eivissa will be reduced to a minimum. The new modified service will include ten daily trips in each direction, including early-morning and late-evening journeys.

As the island’s president, Alejandra Ferrer, pointed out yesterday, the latest measure is seen as both precautionary and useful for containment. Under minimum services, the transport of goods considered basic essentials is guaranteed, and all but strictly necessary personal travel is forbidden. The measure will make it possible to implement controls on arriving individuals, who, for instance, will be appraised of a range of recommendations to follow.

Checks of passengers arriving at port
President Ferrer insisted that individuals coming to the island would soon be subject to certain controls. Visitors travelling from affected areas will have their information entered into a database that the Consell de Formentera will use to monitor their condition. Travellers from at-risk regions will be urged to voluntarily self-isolate and public health authorities will monitor their case. Individuals with symptoms must follow the recommendations of health authorities.

Appeal to Armengol
After an address yesterday evening in which Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez declared a state of alert across the entire Spanish territory, Formentera’s chief policymaker sent a letter pointing out Formentera’s distinctly unique situation and calling on Balearic first minister Francina Armengol to see to it that the relevant authorities enact strict measures to control travel onto the island.

Furthermore, depending on how the health crisis develops and in an effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Formentera’s inhabitants, Ferrer said she wasn’t ruling out the possibility of making the island’s closure “hermetic”.

14 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Formentera-Eivissa ferry connections restricted in bid to contain Covid-19

The Consell de Formentera took new measures today aimed at preventing and containing the spread of Covid-19 on the island. “Ferry companies will maintain minimum service between Formentera and Eivissa so goods can continue to arrive”, said President Alejandra Ferrer, “however, we are asking people to forgo all but the most necessary voyages”. The reduction will make it easier for agents stationed in the harbour to check arriving passengers, who Ferrer pointed out would be subject to a litany of recommendations and tips.

The island government is now in talks with the ferry companies to work out details of scheduling and the new restricted entry scheme will be enacted in short order. Following a request from Formentera representatives, later today the Balearic cabinet will review minimum services regulation which will lay the groundwork for this latest containment measure. The regulation calls for ten daily journeys in both directions, and requires early-morning and late-evening service as well.

Checks of arriving travelers
The president explained that the Formentera government is “working with other agencies and administrations to implement security checks for those individuals coming to the island”. Passengers will be provided general recommendations and encouraged to self-isolate if they are arriving from an affected area. Health authorities will be notified as well so that the recent arrivals can be properly monitored.

Ferrer called the minimum services regulation “yet another precautionary measure that will allow us to track entry on the island”, and described it as “a responsible move”. Goods will always be allowed entry and individuals will not be restricted in their movement so long as the travel is necessary, she added, citing examples such as visits to the Eivissa hospital. Inhabitants of the island are asked to avoid any travel that can be put off until later.

Recent arrivals from at-risk areas
President Ferrer also asked all those individuals on Formentera who arrived in the last week from affected areas like Madrid, Barcelona or Italy to telephone the Consell at 971.32.10.87 so they can receive best practices recommendations and be monitored. Such persons should also call 061 if they experience symptoms like cough, fever or shortness of breath and, as a precautionary measure, self-isolate and reduce interpersonal contact to an absolute minimum.

Recommendations for the hospitality sector
Ferrer asked local hotels or restaurants that are unable to comply with containment measures (safe distance, hygiene, continuous cleaning of all surfaces, discouraging groups) to close for the next two to three weeks.

The message was not extended to “basic-needs” businesses like supermarkets and food vendors, pharmacies and petrol stations, which, together with ferry companies, have received informational material about coronavirus, transmission, preventive measures and frequent signs and symptoms.

Ferrer renewed her appeal to islanders’ “sense of individual responsibility” in preventing the virus’s spread, helping keep hospitals in good working order and protecting those groups that are most vulnerable to coronavirus, namely, individuals over 65 and people with pre-existing medical conditions.

According to Ferrer, “exceptional times call for exceptional measures”. She urged islanders to “stay at home whenever possible and minimise interpersonal contact”, adding, “If you absolutely must go out, now is a great time to take walks in nature—where groups can be avoided”. Ferrer thanked the people of Formentera for their cooperation and promised, “If we all do our part, getting back to normal will be that much easier.”

13 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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