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As island prepares for returning visitors, Formentera calls for new normality to include public health controls and tracing protocol

foto 2020 visita armengolWhen Consell de Formentera president and deputy president Alejandra Ferrer and Ana Juan sat down this afternoon with Francina Armengol, the Balearic first minister, and Pilar Costa, the chief of the first minister’s office, it marked the first in-person encounter between the two administrations since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.

Ferrer praised Armengol for the coordination between the Consell and Govern in recent months, and expressed her will to see such cooperation continue beyond lockdown de-escalation, which is set to conclude next week. “Emergency orders will be lifted on Sunday 21 June, but that doesn’t mean the crisis is over”, said Ferrer, who underscored the need for contingency planning with regard to the families and companions of infected tourists: “In our new normality we’ll need to maintain controls on public health and establish tracing protocol in the event that new cases emerge with arriving visitors”.

Ferrer also voiced concerns about domestic and international flight connections, and about the ongoing absence of Europe-wide safety protocol, which she described as “a missed opportunity for a united message”. As for furloughs announced in the midst of the crisis, Ferrer asked for Armengol’s backing in discussions with the central government: “Considering our economy is based exclusively on tourism, and given the short season in 2020, business owners and workers on the island will need help weathering the winter ahead”.

Ferrer additionally highlighted the potential for new opportunities that crises can afford, and suggested that the current juncture may hold out the opportunity for forward strides in terms of sustainability, solidarity and economic diversification, particularly as the island attempts to move away from a summer-centred tourism. “This crisis has laid bare the weakness of Formentera’s highly seasonal economy and the vulnerability that a large swath of our population faces”, Ferrer offered. “We have to realise that a diversified economy will make us more balanced and improve the quality of life for the people who need it most.”

For her part, the Balearic premiere offered a public show of thanks for the efforts of islanders and local government during a loosening of lockdown measures that saw Formentera, thanks to favourable public health figures, enter de-escalation one week ahead of the rest of the archipelago and Spain. “We are well aware that the economic situation is going to be very complicated”, Armengol added.

The premiere pointed out that the number of Formentera families receiving minimum social income (RESOGA) has jumped from 38 pre-coronavirus to 442 today. As well, she highlighted assistance of between €2,000 and €3,000 for self-employed individuals, including €250,000 from the Consell de Formentera, as well as €100,000 that the local government has put up in support of businesses and micro-businesses benefitting from ISBA loans.

Ferrer and Armengol asked islanders and visiting tourists to remain vigilant in terms of safety measures designed to prevent the local spread of Covid-19.

17 June 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Open enrolment at 2020 Escola d'Estiu

The Formentera Department of Youth reports that registration for the Escola d'Estiu will start tomorrow, Thursday 18 June. Signups extend through 24 June and can be completed online on the Virtual Citizen Information Office (OVAC) or in person and by appointment at the Citizen Information Office (OAC, tel: 971 32 10 87).

The Consell de Formentera’s summer programme  for children ages 3 to 12 starts 1 July, with campuses at schools in Sant Francesc, Sant Ferran and La Mola. Priority will go to families for whom balancing work and childcare is problematic, those at increased risk of social and economic hardship and those in which children are receiving special protective attention. Special tuition assistance is available for households particularly affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Staggered drop-off and pick-up
The Escola d'Estiu daily programme runs from 8.00am to 2.30pm. This year, a system of staggered drop-off and pick-up times will be in place in order to avoid crowding. On registration forms, parents must note their preferred time for drop-off (8.00-8.30am, 8.30-9.00am or 9.00-9.30am) and pick-up (1.30-2.00pm or 2.00-2.30pm).

The main theme of the 2020 programme is health, and the watchword—“Ens cuidam”—centres on personal care. Youth department consellera Vanessa Parellada described the Escola d'Estiu as a crucial resource for local families whose workload typically surges in the high season months of summer, and highlighted the positive impact that educational recreation has on children. “And after three and a half months without school, this year the prospect of an environment where safe socialising, games, leisure and value-based learning can take place is more important than ever”.

Special safety protocol
Special protocol will be in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Group size will be reduced and counsellors will interact exclusively with their assigned groups, abstaining from contact with other children to keep transmission risks to a minimum and forgoing trips outside the centre for the same. Cleaning and disinfecting measures mandated by the authorities will likewise be respected.

For more information, call 971 21 10 87 or email joventut@conselldeformentera.cat.


17 June 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Four additional burial sites uncovered at byzantine necropolis in Sant Francesc

foto 2020 excavacioThe Formentera Department of Patrimony announces the start of a fresh round of archaeological digs at the byzantine-era necropolis that was unearthed in 2017 on a plot of land on Carrer del Metge Vicent Riera. As work began this week, a team of archaeologists from Sociedad Ciencias Aranzadi announced the discovery of four graves adjacent four which had already been uncovered and dated to seventh century, late Antiquity.

Department chief Raquel Guasch applauded the efforts currently under way, asserting that the findings “help thicken the texture of Formentera’s history”. “That’s why it’s so crucial that they have our support”, she continued, “and that we equip ourselves with tools, such as our catalogue of cultural sites and the Special Archaeological Committee, that put us in a position to safeguard such heritage”.

For her part, archaeologist Glenda Graziani highlighted a number of other local necropolises from the same epoch of the Late Byzantine Empire —Can Gabino, Can Toni Blai and Monestir de la Mola— that were slightly older than the current site, which sits on a plot known as Sa Tanca Vella. Graziani hopes the current efforts will illuminate a period about which details have remained elusive: “This necropolis was likely linked to a settlement which may eventually come to light”. In fact, crews have already identified stone carvings perhaps related to the necropolis. Crews have also found a field that was at one time used for farming—“immensely important to our ability to trace the course of agriculture throughout history”, said Graziani.

Archaeologist Almudena García-Rubio pointed out that the graves in question sit farther apart than those found previously. She also noted that one contains the remains of two children, and the other, an adult and a child. “The remains are quite poorly preserved”, remarked the archaeologist, who affirmed that a sediment study would be in order to determine whether surrounding soil had impacted the preservation process.

On a dig commissioned in 2017 as a prerequisite for building permits for two proposed dwellings, part of a byzantine-era necropolis was uncovered in a stretch of land known as JA-111, which is listed in Formentera’s catalogue of protected cultural heritage sites. Meeting with the site’s owners, the Consell subsequently agreed to oversee excavation of the rest of the plot. Valued at €25,703.74 (VAT included), the contract to carry out the work was awarded to Sociedad Ciencias Aranzadi.

17 June 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Play areas reopen

foto 2020 reobertura parcsThe Formentera Department of Island Services announces that from tomorrow children’s parks across the island will reopen in line with safety protocol published in the Balearic gazette as part of an order, 4/2020, issued by the regional premiere.

Per the order, the Consell de Formentera will remove the barriers that restricted access to parks tomorrow. Municipal crews are performing a targeted cleaning of the areas today.

Two daily cleanings —in the morning and afternoon, per the order— have additionally been scheduled going forward, with instructions to focus particular attention on high touch surfaces.

Signs have gone up advising islanders of the main Covid-19 preventive measures, emphasising hand washing, respiratory hygiene and physical distancing.

17 June 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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