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Areas General Services Presidency

Deal aims to boost hometown businesses

foto 2020 cel obert 1When deputy premier of the Balearic Islands and minister of energy transition and productive sectors Juan Pedro Yllanes sat down this morning with Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer, the two signed a pledge to collaborate around support of island businesses and, specifically, promotion of Formentera as an “open-air commercial space”. The aim of the deal, which also saw the involvement of two other officials —Miguel Piñol, who heads the Balearic commerce division, and Ana Juan, Formentera’s chief of housing, seniors, commerce and entrepreneurialism— is to develop Formentera businesses’ competitive edge and shape actions encouraging islanders to shop locally.

The investment made possible by the accord’s €14,000 in associated funding, to which Formentera pledges the remainder after a €10,000 contribution from the Balearic energy transition and productive sectors department, is designed to support development and promotion of business activity in the municipality.

“Help for small business is pivotal in these times of crisis”, insisted President Ferrer. Family-run establishments make up the lion’s share of small-scale commercial operations on the island; they also help guarantee cohesion and services. And Ferrer emphasised that this year with Covid-19 and the attendant crisis, hometown businesses and those offering essential services have been on the front lines. “They were the ones assuring access to services amid lockdown while others remained closed for months on end”, she said, “and they stayed open post-lockdown too, despite facing an unusual season, which is why they need our help now more than ever”.

For his part, the deputy premier described open-air projects as “integral to our plans to relaunch local economies”and proclaimed: “They’re a way for us to promote island businesses and urban centres while simultaneously diversifying economic activity”. “It’s the reason we’re working on similar agreements in as many Balearic municipalities as possible”, he concluded.

Following the initial encounter, the four officials discussed the agreement and the unfolding situation with members of the island’s small and medium-sized business association, Pimef, and the Formentera Chamber of Commerce.

24 September 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Consell renews partnerships with seniors’ clubs in Sant Ferran and Sant Francesc

foto 2020 conveni majors 2Consell president Alejandra Ferrer sat down today with Rita Costa and Julián Galindo, respective heads of Centre Social i de Majors de Sant Ferran and Club de Jubilats i Pensionistes de Formentera, to sign annual collaborative agreements with the two entities. First vice-president and seniors’ consellera Ana Juan was also on hand for the signing.

The Consell subsidises Sant Ferran’s centre for the elderly and the retirees’ club of Sant Francesc to the tune of €8,000 and €11,000, respectively. The money helps pay for maintenance and fund services, not to mention promote and sustain programming and community activities designed for the elderly.

24 September 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Consell offers health dept. two contact tracers and asks for better info on public health protocol

In a letter today from the Consell de Formentera president to Balearic health minister Patrícia Gómez, Alejandra Ferrer proposed local government’s assistance, in the form of two dedicated contact tracing staff, to contend with outbreaks of covid-19 popping up in the islands. Said Ferrer in her note, “We’re suggesting that these two individuals, hired by the Consell, receive protocol training from the health department and that they interface with department chiefs on a day-to-day basis to optimise coordination. It’s our feeling that the presence of people familiar with the on-the-ground realities of Formentera can go a long way to streamline and improve the work”.

President Ferrer asked Ms Gómez for “good inter-government communication so that Formentera’s policymakers can be clear on Govern directives at all times and keep islanders in the know accordingly”. “It’s crucial that the information we receive come quickly and from official sources”, said Ferrer, “especially when protocol changes and criteria or information updates are involved”. The only way people will follow isolation protocol is if they are informed, said the president, who reiterated a request for transmission data on an island-by-island basis, saying such individualised updates on new infections were essential to understanding the impact of transmissions and the measures being taken to contain them.

Ferrer concluded her letter by highlighting what she called “the overarching end-game”: “whatever form of collaboration helps us stop transmission and uphold public health protocol in the best way possible, particularly as we face the start of school and related activities”.

4 September 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Plenary participants champion expanded assistance for tourism sector

foto 2020 ple agostMembers of the Consell de Formentera gathered today for local government’s August plenary, an encounter that brought cross-party support for a proposal on expanding furlough packages and targeted aid for tourism sector businesses and employees. Alejandra Ferrer defended the proposal “in light of the unfolding pandemic, ongoing flare-ups and associated restrictive measures”—measures which the president affirmed constitute “serious obstacles for business owners and job holders on our island, particularly given Formentera’s summer-centred economy”.

Assembly members voted to urge Madrid to fund a doubling of furlough packages for companies for whom new outbreaks and decisions taken by leaders at the local and international level have meant forced closures or lost revenue due to cancelled bookings or reduced activity. They called on the central government to put in place targeted assistance for companies and workers in the tourism sector—a sector which, as President Ferrer pointed out, “is particularly reliant on summertime tourism, and even more so in the Balearics”.

Plan for seniors
Assembly members gave united backing to the Consell de Formentera’s pledge to activate an Integrated Plan for Formentera Seniors (Pla Integral de Gent Gran a Formentera) to “continue working with central and regional government administrations to tackle loneliness among the elderly”.

Vice-president and seniors’ department consellera Ana Juan spoke about care received by Formentera’s old people during the pandemic as well as the wider relevance of local seniors. “The public health crisis has intensified the problem of unwanted solitude here in the Balearics and across the country”, she said, calling on “engagement at every level of government in order to rout it”. Juan insisted that building awareness around the issue was a top priority, and highlighted the importance of “enlisting science and statistics to take specific steps to address the issue and prevent it”.

Scheduling for 2021 bank holidays was adopted as well. Given the feast days of Sant Jaume (25 July) and Sant Ferran (30 May) fall on Sundays, assembly members voted to observe the island’s festival days on the feast days of Santa Maria (5 August) and Sant Francesc (3 December).

OAC service in La Mola and Sant Ferran
Sa Unió party members proposed opening satellite Citizen’s Information Offices (OAC) to tend to islanders in La Mola and Sant Ferran—a measure that won the support of both the GxF-PSOE governing team as well as the opposition. Economy, tax office and general services chief Bartomeu Escandell offered that as soon as the Covid-19 crisis and budget allocations permit it, the expanded OAC service will “improve and facilitate the way islanders in the two neighbourhoods engage with local government”.

Cross-party backing additionally came for a Sa Unió motion to convene the Supervisory Board of the Formentera Audiovisual Administration. Culture chief Susana Labrador indicated the most recently scheduled session of the board had been suspended amid emergency orders and highlighted plans for a new meeting in September.

Report by Bartomeu Escandell
Bartomeu Escandell, who heads the local departments of economy, taxes and general services, stood before assembly members to take stock of the efforts in his remit, noting “every single aspect of these departments’ work has been affected by the severe public health and economic crisis we are facing”. On the subject of finances and taxes, Escandell said “the Consell’s books are in order and we’re on footing that’s sufficiently strong so we can cope with the challenges of these new times of crisis”. “If our administration’s financial solvency has any real value, it’s that it can help us diminish the sting of the pandemic and aid our people in tough times like these.”

As the government office that is closest to the people, Escandell emphasised the importance of “having our own resources so we can act efficiently to help people tackle problems. As we face the worst crisis of our time, our challenge at the economic level is to stay in a position where we can be providing the entirety of our services, and remain by the side of those who need us most.”

Escandell also indicated that during the months of strict lockdown, remote working proved viable across the distinct departments of the Consell, including those under the conseller’s responsibility: accounting, the clerk’s office, hiring and the OAC (Citizen Information Office). “The challenge was to dialogue with islanders across the OAC”, said Escandell, pointing to sharp increases in the number of islanders using the OAC’s online portal, the OVAC. “We saw a great deal of commitment to quality service on the part of staff”, he added, “who, as soon as the easing out of lockdown measures began, resumed providing services by appointment”.

27 August 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Formentera rules out all activities resembling nightlife and parties

By executive order, the Consell de Formentera is temporarily suspending permits for live music and djs in bars, cafés and restaurants. The order aims to support a Govern balear resolution to modify the Exceptional Measures Plan (Pla de Mesures Excepcionals)—a document which requires the closure of establishments like banquet halls, dance clubs, discotheques, cafés offering musical entertainment and wine bars, as well as the cancelation of any comparable programming.

In addition to a license to operate as either a bar, bar-café or restaurant, most Formentera businesses possess an additional permit for music. Often the permits allow their holder to host live music or djs.

To give force to the guidelines and ensure entertainment equivalent to that typically found in nightlife establishments does not take place, the Consell de Formentera is ordering the suspension not only of secondary permits for bars and bar-cafés but of permits for musical entertainment at restaurants as well. Dinner-time entertainment—limited to musical instruments and voice—may take place, but performances must occur during regular hours and with standard decibel (dB) restrictions in place. Concerts and dj sets are prohibited.

Generally speaking bars, bar-cafés and bar-restaurants are restricted to background music, radios or TVs at low volume (under 70dBs). These must be off by 12 midnight.

Beach bars cannot play music or host any other activity promoting conduct comparable to nightlife. Particular care must be taken to prevent crowds and activities at twilight. Activities considered similar to nightlife will carry associated fines and/or closure of the establishment in question.

Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer said the measure was about upholding the rules and making them more compatible to the idiosyncrasies of Formentera. “It’s also about helping a sector which this crisis has hit hard. Bar and restaurant operators have first-hand experience with the rules and a very clear understanding of what’s required”.

Under new guidelines no new guests can be seated after 12 midnight and establishments must close by 1.00am. Diners must remain calmly seated and no more than 10 to a table. Among other measures smoking is prohibited unless smokers can maintain a two-metre distance.


21 August 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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