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Formentera suspends cultural and sporting events, closes municipal buildings to contain Covid-19

The Formentera government is implementing various measures, some cautionary, some geared toward containment, in view of the local threat of Covid-19. For two weeks starting tomorrow, cultural, sporting and any other activities which are either organised by the Consell de Formentera or held in municipal buildings will be suspended.

The following buildings will be closed:
Poliesportiu Antoni Blanc, the municipal pool and IES Marc Ferrer sports facility
Sports pitches, including in Es Cap de Barbaria and the municipal football field
Casal de Joves
Biblioteca Marià Villangómez [Sant Francesc] and Punt de Lectura [Sant Ferran]
Sala d’Actes de Cultura (Cinema)
Sala d’Exposicions ‘Ajuntament Vell’
Far de la Mola
Casa del Poble [La Mola]
Ethnological Museum [Sant Francesc]
Torre des Pi des Català
Casal d’Entitats

The following activities are suspended or postponed:
Courses and workshops organised by the Consell de Formentera.
Activities like lectures, day-long events, film showings at the cinema, theatrical productions and other events organised by the Consell de Formentera.
Any activities in which the local government collaborates or which are held in municipal buildings.

Escola de Música
Non-accredited classes offered by the Consell de Formentera at the School of Music are cancelled. Accredited classes offered by the Govern balear remain unchanged.

Formentera Escoletes
As mandated by the regional health ministry, nursery service is being maintained in an effort to allow islanders to balance work and home life. However, Formentera’s local government urges those parents or guardians who are able to stay home and care for their young ones to do so.

The island’s funeral parlour will continue operations under a hygiene-oriented protocol. Special guidelines will likewise be proposed for offering condolences.

Citizen’s Information Office
The OAC will remain open, but islanders are encouraged to handle formalities online at https://ovac.conselldeformentera.cat.

Social Services
Operations will continue but islanders are asked to make telephone inquiries whenever possible (971.32.12.71).

Public transport
In the interest of mobility, service will continue but taxi and bus drivers are urged to follow protocol and use a maximum of hygiene measures. Seniors and individuals with pre-existing conditions are encouraged not to use public transport.

Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer said the decision was about “being responsible in light of health authorities’ recommendations that all but the most necessary activities be postponed or cancelled in order to prevent group activities from turning municipal buildings into sources of infection”.

“The measures are indeed restrictive”, said Ferrer, “but we are asking individuals to do their part as members of the community so we can continue providing adequate healthcare and protecting those most vulnerable. We are trying to ensure Formentera is the safest place possible during this public health crisis. Our goal is to return to normalcy and resume our economic activity as soon as possible.”

“These measures are being implemented with the latest information and directives, but the entire administration is on permanent alert and stands ready to update protocols as necessary.”

Individuals with symptoms associated with infection should telephone 061 but not visit the Formentera Hospital. The Govern balear has launched an information line at 900.10.18.63.

12 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Formentera moves to stem spread of coronavirus among at-risk groups like elderly

foto mesures coronavirusAlejandra Ferrer, Ana Juan and Rafael Ramírez —the island’s president, vice-president/chief of the department of the elderly and vice-president/chief of social welfare, respectively— held a press conference this morning at the head offices of local government to describe the precautionary measures being taking with regard to the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“The people of Formentera stand with all those affected by the virus”, said Ferrer, “particularly in the hardest hit areas, like certain regions of Spain and the entire country of Italy, whose ties with our island run so deep”.

She gave an overview of coronavirus developments from its appearance and subsequent spread in China to its arrival in the Balearic archipelago. While no case of the illness has yet been declared on Formentera, the local government will begin implementing, in the president’s words, “various cautionary measures, the goal being to safeguard those among us who are most vulnerable, namely, our seniors”.

For two weeks starting Friday 13 March, care for the elderly and individuals with disabilities at the Formentera Day Centre will be suspended. The measure is effective immediately for the next fourteen days of programming at the island’s senior centres.

Postponing programming
The decision to postpone was also extended to various other programmed events like the Tribute to Elderly Women [Homenatge de la Dona Gran], scheduled for Saturday 22 March, and the 18th Festa Intercultural on 29 March. The president indicated that the measures stemmed from recommendations issued by the Govern balear and Spanish health ministry and would be reviewed twice a month. According to Ferrer, not only is the administration “in contact with all the authorities, but daily meetings are additionally taking place between the cabinet team in order to update protocols”, which she acknowledged were subject to “continuous and sudden changes”.

Message of calm
President Ferrer encouraged islanders to keep calm, underscored the virus’s innocuousness for most of the population and described the slate of measures as “geared toward getting us out of this situation and back to normal as soon as possible”. “Panicking is useless”, she stated, “What we need is for people to take individual responsibility in making sure we protect those who are most at-risk. What we need is responsibility, commitment and cooperation with regard to the recommended measures”.

Clubs for the aged
Vice-president and consellera Juan met this morning with the directors of the island’s seniors’ clubs in order to explain the direct relation between the Formentera government’s decision to suspend seniors’ programming in La Savina, Sant Francesc, Es Cap, Sant Ferran and La Mola, and the desire to prevent outbreaks of infection among the island’s most vulnerable inhabitants. Juan traced the decision to cancel the celebration of elderly women to the same logic. “The event will happen as soon as we can adequately guarantee the absence of risks to public health”, said the consellera.

Day Centre
For his part, the social welfare chief highlighted a 4.00pm meeting this afternoon aimed at explaining to families of individuals at the Day Centre the motives behind the decision to close the facility starting Friday. According to Conseller Ramírez, “to the extent that it’s possible, we’re preparing a battery of measures to enable islanders who require it to receive at-home services like meal preparation”.

As for the Festa Intercultural, Ramírez said a meeting had been scheduled for 8.00pm to make clear that the decision to postpone was about following established protocol aimed at reducing risk among vulnerable individuals by avoiding group activities.

Formentera will reinforce internal communications to provide personnel acting protocol and coronavirus details. All staff have been called to take part in a targeted training session Thursday 12 March, while another session is being put together specifically for those individuals who work with the public. Local police and firefighters are also being given information and specific acting protocols.

Schools, health professionals and sports groups have also been given the established acting protocol. A continuous back-and-forth between the island government and health authorities ensures the protocols are constantly updated.

Information for visitors
The Consell de Formentera is also working to keep ferry companies appraised of the latest. Information —on preventing the coronavirus’s spread, for instance, or advice for individuals who suspect they might be infected— will be made available in multiple languages.

General guidelines
The principal directives are as follows:
-If you are in good health, lead your life as you normally would (if still respecting recommendations aimed at stemming virus spread).
-If you suspect you might be infected, call 061, stay at home and avoid contact with others.
-Mobile Covid-19 care units will provide front-line medical service on Formentera from Thursday 12 March.
-Individuals presenting mild cases will be encouraged to stay at home while more serious cases will be sent to Can Misses or Son Espases depending on their symptoms.

For more information or to ask questions about coronavirus, the Govern balear has activated another help line —900.10.18.63— in addition to 061.

11 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Tomorrow, 12 March, ‘Talking with families and teachers’ series continues with Marina Ribas’ lecture on food

cartell 2020 xerrades familiesWhen the conference hall of the Formentera Day Centre opens its doors at 5.00pm tomorrow for the latest instalment of ‘Xerrades per a famílies i docents’ (Talking with families and teachers), wellness, health and food guide and researcher Marina Ribas asks, What does it mean to eat well? The series is organised by Formentera’s Department of Social Welfare with cooperation from the local education office, the teachers’ resource centre (CEP) and the Formentera parents’ association (FAPA).

Babysitting will be available during the talk.

11 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Consell discusses coronavirus with heads of tourism and local business

Foto rp reaccions coronavirusJFormentera’s president and chief of tourism Alejandra Ferrer sat down with Vicent Tur (president of Hotelers de Formentera), Pep Mayans (president of the island’s small and medium-sized business group, Pimef) and Lina Tur (spokeswoman for the Formentera Chamber of Commerce) for a press conference following a meeting to evaluate the current situation with regard to coronavirus.

Ferrer highlighted a Monday meeting with the regional government, economic sectors, island governments and town councils to discuss the cancelation of the ITB travel expo, related fallout and measures necessary to ensure promotion in the market.

On that note, Ferrer said she relayed Formentera’s belief in the importance of reinforcing marketing efforts “beyond Germany, including in mainland Spain, Italy and France, which are among the most vital markets for Formentera”.

She pointed up efforts to retool promotions in national markets like Spain and Italy that Formentera targets, and come up with new strategies to pick up slack following the cancelled events.

Contingency plan
President Ferrer and the other representatives called on the Govern balear to articulate a contingency plan. Ferrer underscored “concern among business owners because the coming weeks are when personnel are typically hired”, explaining “the uncertainty of the current situation creates instability for employees and employers alike. If the situation were to continue, we would ask for assistance, as we did with the fall of Thomas Cook”.

Increasingly flexible reservations
The president of the local hoteliers’ group pointed out that the bottom had yet to fall out on existing reservations, but that “the previous seven days have seen a slow-down in new bookings by our visitors from Italy”. Tur urged the sector to take a cue from airlines, travel agencies and tour operators and allow for greater flexibility in booking: “We’ll boost confidence if we make it easier for travellers to change or cancel their reservations”.

Public health
In the words of President Ferrer, “we have an extremely good healthcare system in the Balearics and health authorities are doing everything in their ability to assure care for both islanders and individuals who may be ill during their stay on Formentera”.

Tourism and health authorities are constantly updating protocols for workers and visiting travellers. As President Ferrer pointed out, the Govern balear has called on island administrations, town councils and health agencies to convene Monday 9 March to discuss related strategy moving forward.

She also highlighted reports from the Spanish tourism and health ministries that efforts are under way to create a specific protocol for establishing measures to address the various scenarios potentially faced by the tourism industry. “This is about being prepared in terms of how we protect our workforce and visitors”, she said.

The Pimef chief voiced his hopes such a protocol would come quickly so it could be passed along to his associates. “It’s crucial employers and employees understand the steps that experts say we should be following”, he said. For now, Pimef has appraised local firms of specific hygiene measures to implement.

Ms Tur, for her part, urged prudence, assuring her colleagues that the Chamber of Commerce “is keeping a close eye on developments and intends to follow the directives of the health authorities”.

Call for composure
Government and business representatives were united in that insisting calm, reasoned action would be key. According to President Ferrer, “this is a global issue and our only response to it can be local. Rest assured, we are following every development. Meanwhile, the Consell de Formentera, Govern balear and local business and tourism sectors are working together to put all the resources at our disposal toward shaping guarantees for the tourist season around a positive progression of events”.

5 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Alejandra Ferrer: ‘If Formentera wants sustainability, we need unity’

foto 2020 dia iles 1The Formentera government’s official celebration of Dia de les Illes —Balearic Islands Day— took place today at 12 noon in Plaça de la Constitució. President Ferrer gave an address underscoring the progress seen on Formentera since 2007, when a retooling of the regional autonomy statute left the island with its own consell, or council.

Ferrer said that challenges lay ahead for Formentera, like protecting islanders’ basic rights, “one of the most important of which is access to acceptable housing. This is an issue that must be dealt with forcefully and in coordination at every level of government”.

The president likewise spoke about the need for a renewed commitment to Formentera’s social, economic and environmental sustainability, and underscored plans to push the needle in that direction. The year 2020 will mark the second anniversary of Formentera’s scheme to restrict in-bound vehicles during the heavy months of summertime crowding: “It’s a way to continue preserving our island for future generations, guarantee quality of life for our inhabitants and deliver a more enjoyable experience to our visitors”.

Other challenges cited by Ferrer included regulating moorage at Estany des Peix, closing the water cycle and eliminating single-use plastics. “In times like these, it’s important that we unite behind common objectives: for a just society, a safeguarded environment and a healthy and shared economy. We want a society that is educated, free, cohesive and supportive.”

Poetry reading
Before Ferrer’s public address, a reading was done of five fragments of poetry from four poets, one from each island in the Balearic archipelago. Formentera’s former mayor, Isidor Torres, read a segment of Majorcan poet Guillem d’Efak’s “Les illes”, after which Selva Garrone, a teacher, read a piece of “No t’he parlat avui...” from fellow Minorcan Pere Gomila.

Following that, Sasha Riccardo and Munay Guzman interpreted two fragments from two poems, “Lletra menuda” and “Sal i Silenci”, by Eivissa poet Nora Albert. Finally, writer/director of the Sant Ferran school Neus Costa interpreted a fragment of “L’espera de la letargia”, by hometown poet Maria Teresa Ferrer.

Members of the local Formentera cabinet, opposition party representatives and the head of the Balearic government’s office of modernisation and digital administration, Ramón Roca, and others, were also on hand for the event, which concluded with a performance of traditional dance in the square by local troupes Es Xacoters and Es Pastorells. Those in attendance were treated to a sampling of signature Formentera fare at the event’s closing.

1 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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