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Areas General Services Presidency

Formentera restricts movement onto and off island

foto 2021 sortides restringidesConsell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer and Balearic government spokeswoman Pilar Costa announced a sealing off of the island from tomorrow, 16 January. Arrivals and exits will be limited, with permission restricted to individuals who can demonstrate travel is work- or medical-related or for other authorised motives.

President Ferrer said the measures aimed not only to protect Formentera residents but also to form a common front and collaborate to keep Eivissa and Formentera’s health services from collapse. “It’s crucial we make it to summer on the most stable footing possible if we want local tourism to recover”, said the premiere, asserting, “An appropriate response now is essential to smooth vaccination operations, which will be key to tackling the pandemic and getting things back to normal”.

The president added that the option currently available was to activate tier 4 restrictions, which would entail shutting down all cafés, bars and restaurants and prohibiting social contacts, or adopt measures to enable a continuation of tier 3 protocol. Ferrer said the latter would only work if infection numbers stayed at their current level. “As we know, things can change extremely quickly”, she said.

Though the epidemiological situation on Formentera today is better than on the rest of the islands, President Ferrer insisted the overall picture was far from rosy. “We’re asking islanders once again to be responsible and collaborate”, she said. “In the weeks ahead we have to keep our interactions to an absolute minimum if we want to return to relative stability, both on the island and further afield.”

Special controls at Formentera port
Local law enforcement will be performing controls at the island’s ferry terminal and at the Eivissa harbour as needed. President Ferrer asked the Civil Guard to collaborate with Formentera Local Police and representatives of municipal government stationed at the port to apprise people of the new restrictions.

The Consell de Formentera information switchboard (971.32.10.87) will be reactivated as well, with personnel monitoring cases to ensure that new arrivals self-isolate and keep contact to an absolute minimum. Other recommendations include:

- Avoid even authorised travel between islands, prioritising remote work and postponing travel whenever possible.
- Refrain from face-to-face business, encouraging virtual gatherings instead.
- Reduce social and family gatherings.
- Keep household bubbles limited.
- Respect safety measures (masks, social distancing, hygiene, ventilation...).
- Prioritise outdoor activities and gatherings.
- Respect tier 3 public health protocol.
- If you think you have been in close contact with an infected individual or if you believe you have symptoms, SELF-ISOLATE and inform your employers if you are working.

Quarantining is required in the following cases:
If you have tested positive for Covid-19
If you have not yet been tested
If you are awaiting test results
If you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive

The new measures will remain in place until 30 January at the earliest, with documentation required to accredit the following essential travel:

a) Visits to healthcare centres, hospitals or veterinary clinics.
b) Work-related travel.
c) Travel to school, university or other educational centres.
d) Return to domicile or family residence.
e) Care for the elderly, minors, people with disabilities or at-risk individuals.
f) Travel to financial and insurance institutions.
g) Mandatory or urgent appearances before public, legal or notarial institutions.
h) Renewals of permits and official documents, or other administrative formalities that cannot be postponed.
i) Official exams that cannot be postponed.
j) Instances of force majeure or other essential situations. Duly accredited travel to and from ports and airports is also permitted, as is travel to certain federated sporting events.
k) Any other similar and duly accredited activity.

Posters have also been printed to inform islanders of the new rules.

15 January 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Consell reminds islanders of mandatory public health measures, calling for personal responsibility and civic collaboration to tackle pandemic

Urging respect for public health protocol in order to tackle the pandemic and curb spread of Covid-19, the Formentera government is calling on islanders to report unlawful behaviour, like the party held in Punta Prima on the morning of 7 January, which authorities learned about thanks to a tip from a neighbour. The Consell encourages islanders to report illegal activity to the Formentera Local Police, Civil Guard or 112. Illegal gatherings such as the one in Punta Prima are punishable by fines for organisers and participants. Rising numbers of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks and unfolding post-holiday developments complicate the situation and make the need for extreme caution even more acute.

Formentera is currently in tier 3 of public health orders, meaning social and family get-togethers both indoors and out must be limited to six, with islanders encouraged to limit contact outside stable household bubbles. Travel is forbidden between 12 midnight and 6.00am.

8 January 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Firefighting brigade takes stock at year’s end

foto 2020 bombers 2The Formentera Fire Department rendered services 163 times in 2020 — a fifty-point year-on-year dip which corresponded to a comparative drop in activities dedicated to prevention. If in 2020 preventive operations accounted for 93 of the brigade’s total interventions, the state of emergency meant that, over the last 12 months, prevention was key to just 43.

Interior councillor Josep Marí said the unusual conjuncture forced firefighters to not only cancel scheduled talks with summer camp kids, but put participation in Consell-organised events and other prevention-oriented activities on hold as well. Marí trumpeted the crew’s “special dedication”, calling it a symbol of “the essential nature of the service they’ve provided during this year in which the pandemic figured so prominently”.

While the fire department sprang into action 35 different times in 2020 (four more than one year ago), forests and farmland made up just one hectare of flame-scorched land (in 2019 the figure was 5.3ha).

This year firefighters logged 23 lifesaving and rescue operations (up six from 2019), 19 false alarms (up one) and 43 instances where technical assistance was necessary (down eight).

New vehicle
The Consell de Formentera paid €38,148 for a Ford Transit van that was added to the fleet of the fire department and civil protection service. The vehicle will be used to transport personnel and material (provisions for operations, flood response and rescue equipment...) when necessary.

30 December 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Councillors gather for year-end plenary on environment and land grant for low-cost housing

foto 2020 ple desembreRepresentatives of the Consell de Formentera logged on today for their December gathering, a full-house session in which councillors handed cross-party support to motions on improved patrols and signage at Ses Salines nature reserve and on a land transfer to the Balearic housing authority so rent-controlled dwellings can be built in Sant Ferran.

Patrols and signage at Ses Salines
Environment chief Antonio J. Sanz defended a measure calling on the administration of Ses Salines nature reserve of Eivissa-Formentera to urgently replace ‘no swimming’ signs in Sa Sèquia canal; to produce a timeline for replacement and maintenance of signs identifying no-parking areas and shared pedestrian and motorist roads, and to incorporate additional personnel at the park. Sanz offered that “safeguarding the reserve is as vital as the work of every government agency involved”.

Solar panels at desalination plant
Universal backing was also secured by a measure calling on the Balearic government to “support energy transition goals, including in renewable energy, by initiating the necessary steps so photovoltaic panels can be installed at the desalination plant”. Councillor Sanz trumpeted the opposition’s embrace of the measure and described “cutting demand for electricity and generating clean energy with structures where additional construction or land is unnecessary” as “an integral part” of the Consell’s environmental policy.

Supporting local business
Assembly members again struck unity on a motion to support local business owners—“a primordial part of Formentera”, according to commerce councillor Ana Juan. The motion included an appeal to the Balearic government to make the needed provisions for investments in energy transition, modernisation and dynamisation to support local trade. Expounding on local and regional pandemic-related initiatives this year, Councillor Juan asserted, “What benefits Formentera’s businesses benefits the rest of Formentera, too”.

Unity was additionally struck on a proposal brought by sport councillor Paula Ferrer to urge the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to make karate an official sport in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and onward.

Sa Unió proposals
Two proposals brought by Sa Unió party members were approved unanimously: one concerned upgrades on the Es Cap rubbish tip road, another saw councillors agitating for the urgent return of 10.30pm Eivissa-to-Formentera ferry service.

Land transfer to Ibavi
Assembly members found common ground green-lighting the transfer of a plot of land to the Balearic housing authority (Ibavi) ahead of plans to build social housing on carrer d’Alacant in Sant Ferran.

Land councillor Rafael González said the land transfer was part of a longstanding effort that would also entail construction of a new park and green spaces: “We’re hoping the build happens as soon as possible. It will be a housing supply boon for those who need it most.”

Remarks by Susana Labrador
Second deputy premiere and culture and education councillor Susana Labrador stood before the assembly to relate actions across her departments. She insisted the imprint of the pandemic was impossible to ignore: “It is abundantly clear that education and culture are assets and rights, and that they’re essential for society and for the holistic development of individual and collective personalities.” Labrador argued that that relevance hasn’t saved them, though, asserting both had suffered under the unfolding crisis. In that sense, the councillor made assurances that Formentera’s government would continue enacting public educational and cultural policies.

On education, the councillor reviewed the impact of pandemic-era school closures in March and underscored work by pupils, teachers and parents to adapt to new circumstances with virtual learning during the general shutdown and protocol for a safe return to classrooms afterwards. She also gave a summary of efforts to reshape service amid exceptional circumstances during lockdown, the subsequent loosening of restrictive measures and the new normal.

Labrador said the top priorities of Formentera’s office of culture were underpinned by three tenets: “First, continue creating new cultural facilities for the island and improving existing ones. Second, deliver quality cultural programming year round. Third, organise celebrations of local holidays and support groups and festival committees involved in organising patron saint and other cultural celebrations.” The councillor said that the indelible mark of the public health conjuncture has been clear since March, when, amid the months of toughest restrictions, programming went virtual before taking on its current customised form. Labrador concluded by praising the “hard work and commitment of municipal employees and all islanders who work in education and culture”.

Parellada reports
Vanessa Parellada appeared before the assembly today as well, speaking about actions since June 2019 in support the goals and efforts of her departments. “What do youth, citizen participation, new technologies, equality and LGBTI have in common?” she asked, referring to the departments in her purview, rounding off the list with the two departments she inherited from President Ferrer. “They’re all transversal, cutting across the municipal departments and affecting Formentera as a whole.”

Underpinning youth policy is the second version of the Strategic Plan for Children and Youth, a document which councillors adopted during the previous legislative term. While accepting that lockdown constituted a “shake-up”, the councillor asserted that “youth remained at the forefront”, and offering that some young islanders discovered the local youth drop-in centre thanks to the pandemic. Identifying ongoing challenges like continuing to rethink the drop-in centre, Parellada also drew attention to the start of work on the new skate park and praised the well-working order of the Escola d’Estiu recreational programme despite the state of public health affairs.

Parellada underlined the launch of a WhatsApp chat group to complement the Formentera Citizen Participation Department’s e-mail communications with local community groups, insisting the app continued to remain relevant today. The councillor also pointed out local associations had opted to devote the allocation for this year’s “participatory spending” initiative to social spending on account of the pandemic—“something all the cabinet councillors are quite proud of”, she said.

And Parellada applauded liaisons in the new technologies department, who, with the change to remote working in March, dedicated particular energy to supporting their colleagues. She said the growing list of services accessible to islanders on the OVAC [Virtual Citizen Information Office] was behind planned upgrades aimed at making the site simpler and more intuitive.

The councillor said that plans were underway further develop equality measures included in Formentera’s Integrated Equality Plan. Currently in force, the plan supports local community groups who promote equality and sexual and gender diversity. Finally, she said LGBTI policy was “fundamentally rooted in visibility and awareness building around diversity of gender identities and sexual orientation, and not just on a few specific days (to depathologise trans identities, to fight LGBTIphobia, etc.) but all year long”.

22 December 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

New Covid cases push Formentera to tier 2 protocol

foto 2020 covid nivell 2Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer and Balearic government spokeswoman Pilar Costa appeared before representatives of the media to offer an assessment of the epidemiological situation on Formentera.

Ferrer explained that the island’s government had opted to press the Govern balear for tighter restrictions in a bid to curb local spread of Covid-19. The Balearic ministry of health will approve raising the pandemic response to tier 2 on Monday, with the change to take effect 22 December, a day later. Once again the president encouraged islanders to be responsible in the run-up to Christmas, and stressed the importance of establishing “stable bubbles” for the festivities ahead.

“Caution and responsibility are crucial”, said Pilar Costa. “Fortunately the islanders who have tested positive show mild symptoms or none at all, but viral loads and contagion capacity mean we need to exercise the utmost caution. We’re asking everyone to keep playing by the rules; if we protect ourselves we’ll protect our loved ones too.”

Epidemiological developments
For the seven-day period starting 11 December, local cases out of 100,000 more than quadrupled when they leapt from 74 to 300. The week brought diagnosis of 35 new infections, thirty in the previous three days. At the same time, the rate of positive tests has climbed from 8.6% to 19.6% to more than double.

Levels under both indicators easily surpass European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s benchmarks —3% positivity and 60 cases per 100,000— to qualify an area as at risk.

Vulnerable individuals are prevalent among the new infections: islanders over 65 now represent 273.4 cases in 100,000; on 11 December, the figure was zero.

Finally, traceability has fallen among the new cases: 60% on 11 December, the figure has dropped to 50% a week later.

Key changes
Passage from tier 1 to 2 will mean the adoption of more restrictive measures: the twenty-person limit on outdoor gatherings will be halved, going from ten to six for indoor spaces. Bars and restaurants must additionally reduce capacity depending on the risk levels they face: medium risk establishments with space for 50 will need to cap admission at 70%; spaces where capacity normally exceeds 50 may accept no more than half that number. High risk establishments must fix capacity at 40%. Until now up to ten individuals could be sat at the same indoor table; the number will now be lowered to six. Under tier 2 protocol bar and restaurant managers can fill outdoor seating to 75% of normal capacity or a maximum of ten to a table, while under tier 1 standards the per-table limit was 15. Tier 2 protocol means bar service is also against the rules, as are, in another key change, traditional feast day celebrations.

19 December 2020
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

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