COVID-19 UPDATES FROM RENEW EUROPE MEMBERS

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LATEST UPDATES FROM OUR MEMBERS

BELGIUM

UPDATED:
26.03.2020 | 14:39

Wallonia | Willy BORSUS, Vice-President of the Wallonia region

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Additional financial aid for hospitals;
  • Measures to avoid an interruption in the supply of electricity and gas;
  • Organisation of an alternative accommodation for people in precarious situations and those who are homeless, in consultation with local authorities;
  • Temporary suspension of mandatory and appeal periods before the court;
  • Suspension of administrative and judicial home eviction decisions;
  • Ensuring the stability of regional public services, while taking measures to protect the health of the employees;
  • Closure of recycling parc.

Economic measures: Constitution of an extraordinary solidarity fund of 350 million. This fund is distributed as follows:

  • € 233 million in support for SMEs and the self-employed in the sectors affected by the crisis, through flat-rate compensation; 115 million euros in support measures for the health and social sectors; 2 million euros for local authorities; 233 million support for businesses, SMEs and the self-employed and mobilization of economic tools; 115 million euros in support measures for the health and social and employment sectors and 2 million euros in support measures for local authorities.

Brussels | Jean-Luc VANRAES, member of the Uccle municipal council

Economic measures worth 150 million euro: 

  • A single premium of € 4,000 per company whose closure is made compulsory following decisions adopted by the National Security Council and forming part of the following sectors:- Restaurants
    – Accommodation
    – The activities of travel agencies, tour operators, reservation services and related activities;
    – Retail trade with the exception of food stores (including night shops), animal feed stores, pharmacies, press outlets, petrol stations and fuel suppliers;
    – Recreational and sports activities
  • A single premium of EUR 2,000 for hair salons
  • The suspension of payment of City Tax by the Brussels Region for the first half of 2020;
  • Strong support for the cash flow of the companies affected via the granting of public guarantees (via the Brussels Guarantee Fund) on bank loans, for a total of 20 million euros;
  • The creation of a delegated mission at Finance & Invest. brussels which includes:
    – the possibility of a reduced-rate loan to key suppliers in the hotel-restaurant-catering (HORECA) sector allowing them to offer a payment period to establishments in the HORECA sector;
    – the possibility of a reduced-rate loan for HORECA establishments that employ more than 50 people.
  • A moratorium on the capital repayment of loans granted by Finance & invest.brussels to impacted companies in the affected sectors;
  • The accelerated, even anticipated processing, engagement and liquidation of aid for economic expansion for the HORECA, tourism, events and culture sectors;
  • The strengthening of support for companies in difficulty by hub.brussels in collaboration with the Center for companies in difficulty (CED) whose endowment is increased by € 200,000.
  • The waiver of the tax on the operation of taxis or cars with driver for the year 2020.

In social economy and for service vouchers:

Normally excluded from economic aid, social economy integration enterprises will be able to benefit from all the measures put in place to support the Brussels economic fabric in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.

  • In a harmonized federal framework, the payment of the regional intervention, i.e. € 14.60 per hour, whether it is provided or not, to service voucher companies is maintained. This will help pay the wages of housekeepers, as long as businesses do not experience economic unemployment, and support the sector. € 20 million is dedicated to this measure. This is only possible if the federal government agrees to abolish social security contributions for this sector.In order to support the associative sectors and the events, tourism, cultural and sports sectors of Brussels:

Promotion Image de Bruxelles for events taking place, in whole or in part, from March 1 to April 30, 2020 inclusive:
– For events postponed later in 2020, the subsidy granted remains without modification of the grant decree and without modification of the amount awarded;
– For canceled events, the Brussels government authorizes the use of this grant to settle invoices for expenses already incurred for the event and which cannot be canceled.

In Sport, Equal Opportunities and Social Cohesion:
– In the event of outright cancellation and if non-reimbursable costs have been incurred, the grant must not be reimbursed;
– In the event of postponement to a later date, it will not be necessary to start a new grant application procedure and the analysis of supporting documents will be made more flexible.

Suspension of LEZ fines
Finally, the Brussels Government has decided to change the date of entry into force of the dispatch of the fines provided for in the Low Emission Zone (initially scheduled for April 1, 2020) and to temporarily suspend the dispatch of the fines for the vehicles concerned since 2018. The entry into force of the fines is therefore postponed to the 1st day of the month following the end of the measures taken by the relevant authorities.

  • Organisation of an alternative accommodation for people in precarious situations and those who are homeless, in consultation with local authorities;
  • Temporary suspension of mandatory and appeal periods before the court;
  • Suspension of administrative and judicial home eviction decisions;
  • Ensuring the stability of regional public services, while taking measures to protect the health of the employees;

CROATIA

UPDATED:
23.04.2020 | 12:45

Pirovac | Mayor Ivan GULAM

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Besides the restrictions introduced on national level, the municipality introduced the prohibition of professional activity for following sectors: nautical tourism, renting and leasing of ships and boats, manufacture, service, maintenance and sale of ships and boats, as well as construction of residential and non-residential buildings.

Economic measures: Pirovac municipality was among the first local governments in Croatia to introduce measures to facilitate business operations for the local economy for 3 months starting from March:

  • Abolishing kindergarten payments for all the time of confinement;
  • Postponing all planned foreclosures;
  • Freezing payment of utility fees for legal entities and craftsmen, and the exemption of public areas and leases of public spaces that are on a permanent lease – all for a term of three months.

Solidarity and communication:

  • Locally organised delivery of food and medication to elderly citizens.

Novigrad | Mayor Anteo MILOS

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Restricted opening hours of restaurants, bars and casinos (from 6 to 18) closure of nursery schools till mid-April;
  • Commercial centres: restricted opening hours, restricted number of customers allowed at the same time in the premises, more open tills to allow for fast circulation, signs on the floors indicating 1m distance in line.

Economic measures: The city of Novigrad is one of the co-signatories of the Istrian local plan to help economy. The Mayors agreed on clear economic measures to help the local economy: in addition to the national measures. Each Istrian entrepreneur, impacted by the confinement will have the right to:

  • An exemption from following local tax: the tax for the use of public space (from 1 March until the end of confinement) and postponement of payment of the consumption tax ;
  • The charge of communal contributions possible through interest-free payments until the normalisation of business (up to 6 months);
  • A 50% reduction of the lease of business premises owned by the local government are for all those entrepreneurs who are impacted by the restrictive confinement measures;
  • The payment of already issued invoices for utilities to be prolonged until end of June;
  • The payment of already issued invoices for water management to be prolonged until June 30, 2020;
  • Freezing the obligation to contribute financially to the maintenance of cultural heritage (“monument rent”);
  • The charge for the use of the maritime domain postponed;
  • Finding out the possibilities of assistance for preschool education programs for private institutions and crafts for nannies for the period from March 13 to April 14, 2020, that is, until the limitation of work of preschool institutions and other forms of child care ceases.

Solidarity and communication:

  • Anteo Milos and other Istrian mayors decided to renounce one third of their salaries. This money will be used to purchase additional medical equipment for the region.

Međimurje County | Matija POSAVEC, President of Regional Executive

Public services, health and confinement: The region focuses on three main measures:

  • After almost one month of confinement in their place of residence, citizens of the Medimurje county are allowed to move within the regional borders of the County
  • Supervision of homes for the elderly has been enforced, by continuously monitoring the temperature of users and employees for the purpose of prevention and possible timely response;
  • Keep the number of infected person low (imposing self-distancing);
  • prepare for potential stronger outbreak by investing in additional medical capacity (additional 25 accommodation units with toilets and kitchens with a total number of 100 beds built and at disposal);
  • preventing the virus reaching the medical staff, by introducing stringent controls of entrance to hospitals and pharmacies.

Istria | Valter DRANDIĆ, President of Regional Assembly

Economic measures: A great example of local and regional cooperation to fight COVID-19: President of the Istrian region and all Istrian mayors agreed upon a set of measures:

  • according to their size, each municipality to contribute with a certain sum (under 10.000 inhabitants with approx. 13.000EUR, more than 10.000 inhabitants approx. 26.000 EUR), together with the region approx.40.000 EUR) to purchase additional medical equipment for hospitals and pharmacies.

Solidarity and communication:

CZECHIA

UPDATED:
26.03.2020 | 14:39

Central Bohemia | Governor Jaroslava POKORNÁ JERMANOVÁ

The Governor of the Central Bohemia Region (CBR) Mrs. Jaroslava Pokorná Jermanová presides the Crises Management Committee of the Central Bohemia Region, which manages and supervises all the outbreak response in the CBR in line with the Czech government measure.

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Governor of the Central Bohemian Region Jaroslava Pokorná Jermanová addressed citizens in a video on social media, explaining that 55.000 FFP2 respirators have arrived to the central regional warehouse and will be distributed to the hospitals and other public institutions that most urgently need them. More supplies are coming from China to the Pardubice airport. The region also managed to secure disinfectants for public transport operators, and their distribution is already being prepared by the regional association of these companies. According to the region’s Saturday press release, it is more than 126,000 litres of disinfection, which should be sufficient for 60 days. The distribution to the individual municipalities will be ensured by the firefighters;
  • Securing and distribution of safety equipment and disinfection: Management of the distribution of safety equipment and disinfection runs well, all received equipment is immediately sorted and send further to the needed. Furthermore, the CBR has managed to secure 126 thousand litres of disinfection for the transport companies which should last for 60 days, the Association of the Central Bohemia Transport Companies has helped with the distribution.

Economic measures:

  • The Governor has tasked the Deputy Governor for Finance Sector to prepare actions and initiatives mitigating the negative impact of the COVID-19 crises. Key will be regional investments and innovations.

Solidarity and communication: Dedicated COVID-19 information website for the citizens of the Central Bohemia Region provides all necessary information, as well as Dedicated COVID-19 assistance measures for senior citizens:

  • All useful phone numbers including a region specific COVID-19 dedicated help line for the CBR citizens only;
  • COVID-19 latest news provided (fighting fake news);
  • Map of the outbreak situation in the region;
  • Information about possibilities of assistance to the citizens and voluntary help in individual towns and municipalities (face mask sewing, food deliveries, repairs, shopping, etc.);
  • Information for towns and municipalities about the introduced measures;
  • Information for businesses about the introduced measures;
  • List of testing labs;
  • List of civil society organisation providing help to vulnerable citizens;
  • Advise and recommendations on the lockdown and self-quarantine;
  • Senior citizen help line intermediates help for senior citizens in the CBR (shopping, food delivery, mental health help, small housekeeping help);
  • Launch of the solidarity project “I want to help”.

DENMARK

UPDATED:
19.03.2020 | 12:15

Aarhus | Councillor Eva Borchorst MEJNERTZ

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Aarhus Municipality has established a jobs database to mobilize citizens with health care or educational competencies for temporary corona assistance;
  • Aarhus University Hospitals offer drive-in testing for COVID-19.

Economic measures:

  • For affected businesses, the Aarhus Municipality’s Business Service has set up a contingency plan that is ready to help companies with specific requests.

Solidarity and communication:

  • Changing the rules regarding allotment gardens in order to allow people to handle the lockdown better. Normally, in Aarhus you must live in your “garden houses” during the summer (from end of March to end October) but because of the coronavirus, the municipality has changed the rules for this year, allowing the citizens of Aarhus to move from their flats into their allotment gardens already from beginning of March, to make the lockdown more bearable;
  • Virtual Apps caffee – the city set up phone counselling for citizens that need assistance with digital tools;
  • Proposes on the official website of the city a platform for exchange between volunteers/associations who are ready to help and those citizens that need assistance, for food delivery, dog walking or similar.

An audio message from Eva on the situation in Denmark.

ESTONIA

UPDATED:
23.03.2020 | 16:43

Järva Municipality | Mayor Rait PIHELGAS

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The municipality of Järva was early to set up a system for home deliveries to ensure the continuity of supplies to the most vulnerable;
  • At the time of writing, there were only four infected people in the county with a population of 30,000. Rait Pihelgas, the mayor of Järva municipality and the chairman of the crisis committee of Järva municipality, said that the statistics create a deceptive feeling of security in many people, that this is a problem of both Tallinn and Saaremaa, and the risk of living in the countryside is much lower. Pihelgas highlighted small countryside shops as one of the danger areas, where it is very difficult to maintain a distance of two meters. He plans to suggest that there could be volunteers at such stores to limit the number of people not going to the store at one time.

Rae Municipality | Mayor Mart VÕRKLAEV

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The city is ensuring grocery delivery for the citizens that are most at risk of COVID-19 and the warm meals that are usually served in schools, are being delivered to families homes;
  • The website, as well as social media of the city are used and promoted as official sources of information for citizens.

Economic measures:

  • The city of Rae froze the expenses for the kindergarten service for their citizens, although the kindergartens remain open for all those whose parents are still working in the essential sectors.

FINLAND

UPDATED:
23.03.2020 | 14:53

Oulu | Mirja VEHKAPERÄ, Member of a Local Assembly

Solidarity and communication:

  • The city government unanimously decided that in Oulu, due to the risk of coronavirus, an electronic meeting will be gradually introduced at city council meetings. “Although it is not forbidden to hold municipal meetings, we want to prepare for the worst by going to remote meetings in whole or in part” says Vekhaperä. Decisions on the state of emergency caused by the corona are also likely to be subject to ongoing review. “The aim is to follow the order of urgency and unnecessary meetings will be cancelled. Still, nothing should be left undecided” Vekhaperä concluded.

GERMANY

UPDATED:
23.04.2020 | 16:10

North Rhine-Westphalia | Dietmar BROCKES, Member of the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Partial lockdown of the region: from 15 March all leisure facilities are be closed (until 16. April). Schools are closed (digital courses provided), except for children whose parents work in essential infrastructures (energy, water, health, food, IT, transport, media, governance);
  • The state-government introduced a website with most important information – also available in other languages, in order to ensure that all citizens receive the information;
  • Corona cross-border task force between North-Rhein-Westphalia, the Netherlands and Belgium. The task force aims to improve the mutual exchange of information, synchronize activities and clarify issues of common interest for crisis management. This particularly concerns the situation in the regions close to the border with regard to border traffic and the availability of intensive care beds;
  • The region receives patience from Italy and France in its hospitals to help other European regions.

Economic measures:

  • the NRW Emergency Aid 2020 aimed at small business owners, freelancers and the self-employed. In less then a week, more than 320,000 small business owners who suffer from Covid-19 inflicted liquidity shortages applied for financial support and due to the digitalisation of the process, 70% of the requests could already be approved.

Bavarian State Parliament | Tobias GOTTHARDT, Member of a Regional Assembly

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Bavaria introduces 27 April, initially for a duration of four weeks, an obligation to wear a mask or any other kind of mouth/nose protection in public transport and shops. It is the third land in Germany, introducing such a measure.
  • Being the contact person for the citizens from his constituency who are outside of Germany, to facilitate their repatriation;
  • Bavaria took over the costs for food and beverages for medical staff working in hospitals, retirement homes and institutions for people with disabilities from 1 April.

Economic measures:

  • Service-hotlines for business and pupils, as well as an official messenger service for all information concerning the COVID-19 crisis;

GREECE

UPDATED:
02.04.2020 | 14:00

Alimos Municipality | Mayor Andreas KONDYLIS

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Public social services team (staff): This includes doctors, social workers and other civil servants who bring to recipients’ home (i.e. the residents within the boundaries of the Municipality) the essentials, regarding pharmaceutical care and emergency supplies, food or even a public document. Recipients are those who are registered into the Social Structures of the Municipality (i.e. beneficiaries of the Social Grocery, the Social Pharmacy and The Social Food Bank of the Municipality);
  • In exceptional situations, Social Services Staff can accommodate sensitive groups with the sanitation of their homes in the event of an emergency;
    Free telephone psychological support by specialists: Citizens, who are experiencing emotional difficulties from the effects of the pandemic have the ability to express themselves, seek for advice to manage daily changes and new lifestyle;
  • Free Online Educational Tutorials Programme: This is offered free of charge to high school children via Skype and Google Classroom so that children do not lose their lessons;
  • Blood donation: Citizens are regularly requested to keep on donating blood because of increased blood needs due to coronavirus pandemic.

Economic measures:

  • On-line shopping and delivery services from local markets, such as mini markets, butchers, bakeries, greengrocers, pastry shops, kiosks.

Solidarity and communication:

  • “By you with a phone-call” and website: This is a telephone hotline and a website in the Local Community Prevention Center launched for people that are confined due to illness, the elderly, single parent households and people in quarantine. The center has extended operating hours and at the moment can support up to 40 and over requests;
  • Online creative workshops concerning books: This is done in collaboration with the National Library of Greece for recreation at home;
  • Mayor’s direct address to citizens through social media: This is to raise awareness about the situation and educate citizens about precautionary measures.

FRANCE

UPDATED:
23.04.2020 | 12:44

Saint-Omer | Mayor François DECOSTER

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The municipality is making and printing forms which will enable people with a specific valid reason to move around; these forms will be available in the shops that remain open. 10,000 Forms have thus been printed and distributed by the municipal police;
  • Waste treatment facilities are closed. To organize the trash collection, yellow bags have been put to the disposal of people in shops that are still allowed to be open, for those who have enough space at home to keep the bag(s) until the waste sorting and treatment are back in business. For those who have not enough space, they are exceptionally allowed to put all their waste unsorted in the green container meant for household trash, which is collected every week;
  • “Points de ravitaillement”: replacing the cancelled weekly market, this re-stocking point consists of a market only for food producers, which allow citizens to still buy food – this at a secure distance, not in confined spaces, and apart from each other as in some shops there was an important flux of customers.

Economic measures:

  • Emergency fund of € 400,000 for small businesses and the self-employed, co-established by two local authorities, the Saint-Omer agglomeration and the Pays de Lumbres community of municipalities.

Solidarity and communication:

  • Awareness-raising campaigns, informing citizens to stay at home;
  • Food delivery and “solidarity baskets” put at disposal for citizens older than 65;
  • The Mayor is organising Facebook-live sessions to inform his citizens about the concrete measures and answer questions in an informal setting.

Autun | Mayor Vincent CHAUVET

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The municipality enacted the confinement of municipal officials. From now on, public officials will take turns on the essential positions per fortnight to guarantee the continuity of the public service;
  • Household waste collection service will maintain throughout the lock-down;
  • The municipal police service will continue to operate. However, the parking meters will no longer be collected, and parking control will no longer be ensured;
  • All municipal halls were closed for rental;
  • The reception of the town hall is closed, only urgent cases will be dealt with which will have to be announced by the intercom. The switchboard remains available at the usual times;
  • The civil status service will only process deaths and births.
  • At the request of the mayor, the Prefect of Saône-et-Loire has validated the new enhanced security system for the Autun market and has signed the decree authorizing its reopening, under very strict sanitary conditions: limited to one person per household with systematic control by the municipal police of the derogatory certificates of movement and hand washing compulsory before entering the perimeter.

Economic measures: The city of Autun decided, in addition to the national and regional aid recently announced, to immediately set up an exceptional trade support plan, financed from the municipal budget. The plan consists of 5 measures:

  • Rents for public spaces for commercial use suspended entirely throughout the confinement period. This refers to more than twenty businesses in the city. In addition, the mayor calls on all owners of private spaces used by a business to expand this solidarity to local businesses, by facilitating payments or suspending the rents to those premises;
  • Free parking: no parking fee is charged in the center of the city (Place du Champ de Mars) during the confinement. This measure will be maintained for two months after the crisis to encourage customers to resume their shopping habits;
  • Exemptions from local taxes: The City of Autun will reimburse the commercial occupation rights in the public domain (terrace tax, parking fees) collected during the confinement period. The city will also reimburse during this period the local tax on outdoor advertising for all businesses subject to it, including outside the city center;
  • Commercial events will be postponed and additional dates will be proposed to businesses and citizens: following the confinement, a set of events will be organised, incorporating the permission of flash sales and clearance deals for business;
  • Help with deliveries: The city offers businesses who already use the intermunicipal platform “Buy in Autunois“, as well as those who would like to register now, a free of charge membership and marketing the products online. In addition, the delivery will be free for both merchants and citizens and will be provided once a week with the support of municipal services.

Solidarity and communication:

  • Facebook live with the Mayor: fighting fake news, indicating to citizens the right sources of information. The Mayor provided his citizens with concrete information about the framework in Autun during COVID-19: waste management, introduction of a 24/7 emergency phone, solutions for childcare for citizens active in “essential services”; Agreement with supermarkets and local companies to ensure home food delivery for the elderly and / or disabled;
  • The city of Autun launches the “Learning Autun” operation and produces a series of educational videos on the flagship works of the Rolin museum.
  • On the French government website “jeveuxaider.gouv.fr”, created in the context of the COVID19 epidemic for volunteering, the city of Autun was one of the first local communities to participate. In less than 48 hours, 130 people volunteered to help people in need in their town. Three missions were proposed on the site by the city of Autun: (i) to distribute basic necessities and meals to the most deprived, (ii) to run essential products for the most fragile neighbors and (iii) to maintain a link with isolated people.

Ile-de-France Region | Regional Councillor Frank CECCONI

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Digital classrooms have been introduced in the whole region, offering an online database, as well a communication tool for all parents, teachers and children and a free online language tool course (qioz.fr). The region pushes for the IT infrastructures to be strengthened to cope with the increased traffic influx. This is possible, as in the region Ile-de-France and with the support of European Union funding, 50% of high schools became fully digitally compatible already last year and 190.000 pupils received tablets to be able to connect fully to digital education forms;
  • Transport: the region has asked operators to guarantee at least 50% of transport during peak hours. In addition, the region will redeploy the means of currently closed school transport lines, on service to hospitals and additional lines to be provided during peak hours. It will also greatly strengthen on-demand transport services in the outer ring that serve rural hospitals.

Economic measures:

  • In cooperation with the largest food market in Paris another platform has been launched: “Rungis livre chez vous”. It is digitalising the food market, opening it to citizens (while it was only for professionals before) and offering home delivery.

Solidarity and communication:

  • The region created a platform ‘”smartidf.services/fr/solutions” aimed at connecting those citizens and businesses who offer and those who need assistance. For example an SME proposed free of charge cybersecurity solutions to all hospitals, or a collaborative service for citizens to take over the grocery purchase for their vulnerable neighbours.

Marly | Councillor Jean-Nöel VERFAILLIE 

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The municipality of Marly, in addition to the national measures, introduced since 24 March also a curfew, according to which citizens are to remain in their homes from 21h to 5h.

Economic measures: As part of the Valenciennes agglomeration, Marly is included in measures that, in addition to all those taken by the State and the Hauts-de-France Region, support local businesses:

  • Solidarity Fund of 400,000 euros for companies whose permanent workforce is less than or equal to 5 employees;
  • A Rebound fund of 500,000 euros for companies with 6 to 10 employees;
  • Rents for public spaces for commercial use suspended entirely throughout the confinement period;
  • The collection of the tourist tax from all hoteliers and hosts is postponed to October.

Solidarity and Communication:

  • Diffusion of opening hours and health precautions taken by local businesses.

LATVIA

UPDATED:
20.03.2020 | 15:44

Riga | Councillor Dainis TURLAIS

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Transport is running at limited capacity, reduced time and routes;
  • Soup kitchens and hot food outlets in Riga continue to operate as before, with all hygiene and safety requirements. The Riga Shelter has announced quarantine and work in conditions of increased security and strict hygiene standards for both clients and employees. A quarantine has been announced at the Riga Municipal Children and Youth Center, and parents are encouraged to minimize contact with out-of-home care facilities. When evaluating potential visits, children will be able to visit those parents who pledge to comply and sign a statement that they have not been in contact with COVID-19 infected persons, and to adhere strictly to the safety requirements set by the facility.

LITHUANIA

UPDATED:
18.03.2020 | 14:28

Klaipėda | Mayor Vytautas GRUBLIAUSKAS

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The mayor is urging the government to reinforce and scale up the testing, as well as provide greater support for municipalities which are running out of medical supplies.
  • Closed the seaport for cruise ships.
  • Public transport is operating at a reduced capacity (shorter working hours).
  • The municipality is providing direct support to individuals who are forced to self-isolate but are unable to do so at home (in case of bigger households).

Solidarity and communication:

  • Since schools and kindergartens have been closed, the municipality is ensuring that children of the medical staff are taken care of.

LUXEMBOURG

UPDATED:
30.03.2020 | 09:50

Luxembourg | Vice-Mayor Simone BEISSEL

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The municipality is providing direct support to individuals who are forced to self-isolate but are unable to do so at home (in case of bigger households).

Economic measures:

  • All local shops and restaurants renting properties from the City of Luxembourg will be exempt from paying rent for the period of the lockdown. The local authority will be waiving the costs of the rent as a gesture of solidarity with local business during the Covid-19 crisis.

NETHERLANDS

UPDATED:
16.03.2020 | 15:46

The Hague | Deputy Mayor Robert VAN ASTEN

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Foodbank visitors receive vouchers to go and buy food in the supermarket instead of getting food packages.

Solidarity and communication:

  • Wrote an open letter to all actors in the cultural sector in The Hague;
    Providing direct support to citizens, explaining what is being done to help them, giving sole advice.

Zwolle | Deputy Mayor René DE HEER

Economic measures:

  • Discussing measures to protect citizens, zooming in on companies and entrepreneurs who can be temporarily exempted from some taxes;
  • Working on a local support package: delay paying some contributions, suspending rent payments.

Solidarity and communication:

  • Released a video message directly explaining measures taken by the municipality.
  • Set up a special information desk to answers queries by phone or mail for business questions.

Flevoland Province | Michiel RIJSBERMAN, Member of the Council

Economic measures:

  • Flevoland is taking short term economic measures aimed at ensuring liquidity in the organizations that receive the assistance, helping also through leniency and earlier payouts, as well as credit lines for all businesses. They are also developing longer-term measures and other stimuli.

Zuid-Holland | Jeannette BALJEU, Member of the Provincial Executive

The measures that are taken in Zuid-Holland at the moment are mostly taken by the Dutch National cabinet. It focusses mostly on the health and safety of the Dutch inhabitants and keeping Dutch companies alive. The national government has created a ‘disaster package’ for the support of enterprises. They want to make sure companies are able to continue to pay their staff wages, they provide money for self employed ensure their income and help enterprises maintain their liquidity. The fund reserved for this is over €100 mln. This is for example by making tax arrangements easier, by providing compensation or providing extra credit opportunities.
The Dutch Chamber of Commerse created a CoronaDesk for entrepreneurs to guide them towards the instrument fit for their situation.

Economic measures
Next to the National measures, the province of Zuid-Holland is taking several measures to keep the economy of Zuid-Holland running. For example by supporting it’s important economic sectors, such as the horticulture sector (Greenports), with the emphasis on issues in logistics and human resources. A crisis organisation, under the Greenports Netherlands Initiative, has been established. It is also important that the harbour and industrial complex stays operational. Therefore, measures are being taken to maintain it’s continuity. The measures being taken in this sector are national and international.

The regional measures that are being taken for the regional economy, are:

  • Creating insight in the economical impact through the Corona monitor Zuid-Holland;
  • The SMITZH-program, estblished to support the region’s manufacturing industry, has been asked to supply means or services to battle the COVID19-virus.

Agricultural measures
The Province is trying to support initiatives which support short value chains. Via a program called ‘Voedselfamilies’, projects such as Local Goodness Box and Support your Locals are being promoted.
Another initiative is that food from the agriculture and horticulture sector that can’t find it’s way abroad, is being distributed among regional food banks to provide for the less fortunate inhabitants struck by the COVID19-crisis.

Innovative measures
The province of Zuid-Holland launched a platform called ResilientSociety. On this platform innovative companies can provide solutions for challenges caused by the COVID19-crisis. Governments and start ups can work together in finding solutions for societal problems. This is an initiative taken together with companies such as Dell, T-Mobile and other governments like The Hague and Rotterdam.

Infrastructural measures

  • It is a priority that maintenance projects are continued;
  • If possible, infrastructural project are being executed faster;
  • During the period of the measures taken by the Dutch cabinet, bridges and sluices will be opened according to the winter schedule;
  • There are less regionally funded buses and trains in circulation. The transportation companies are receiving the same amount of subsidies though. Negotiations on extra support measures are happening

Financial measures
The province of Zuid-Holland tries to speed up the process of paying the bills. The regional authority is showing extra leniency towards sponsored or subsidised events and created opportunities for a number of advance payments. Certain tax payments can be delayed.

Touristic measures
Inhabitants are asked by the national government to remain inside as much as possible. Nature preservation organisations picked designated areas in Zuid-Holland that are best to be avoided.
An update of the measures taken can be found on www.zuid-holland.nl/coronavirus.

Additional human resources
Tools have been created to supply extra human resources there where it’s most needed. The province of Zuid-Holland created a ‘Marketplace’, where supply and demand meet. This is a digital place where assignments of the organisation and external partners can be redistributed. Moreover it is more financially appealing for municipalities in the region to mobilise the ‘Flying Brigade’. This is a group of Provincial employees that can support regional developments in the area of built environment.

ROMANIA

UPDATED:
25.03.2020 | 16:52

Gura Humorului | Mayor Ioan URSĂCIUC

Public services, health and confinement:

  • All public institutions and commercial areas, train and bus stations are taking all necessary measures to clean and disinfection the access and the sanitary spaces;
  • Obliging all food retailers (eg hyper-market, super-market, market, neighborhood shops, etc.) to frequently disinfect all exposed surfaces; avoid the crowding of people;
  • Starting with the 10.03.2020 all events that involve the participation of a large number of persons in the area of Gura Humorului city, including those approved up to this date are cancelled;
  • Access to any public space such as to the Museum of Popular Customs in Bucovina, the Culture House, the City Library (shows, movies, concerts, etc.) is forbidden. The book lending service is also suspended;
  • The local swimming pool and its leisure complex are closed;
  • All sports activities and competitions organised by the Gura Humorului School Sports Club are suspended, as well as those organised at the Local Stadium;
  • At the local Food Market, all access roads and sanitary spaces will be provided with hand sanitizers, all door handles will be disinfected by the market staff every hour;
  • Any trade activity around the Gura Humorului Food Market, as well as within the Animal Market, is suspended;
  • Restriction of access to more than 5 persons at once in the offices where the public work takes places, such as the Gura Humorului City Hall, the Gura Humorului Public Social Assistance Department, the Local Community Public Service for the the Gura Humorului population records;
  • 736 socially assisted persons received cleaning products through the P.O.A.D. project.

Solidarity and communication

  • Informing the public by placing posters containing measures for the prevention and combating of infections at the entrances to all public institutions and commercial areas, train and bus stations within the area of the city;

SLOVENIA

UPDATED:
02.04.2020 | 17:28

Trbovlje | Mayor Jasna GABRIČ

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The mayor is preparing for the worst scenario. They started before the first confirmed case was declared in Slovenia. Trbovlje acted swiftly and closed down all non-essential public institutions before the government took the same decision;
  • The municipality of Trbovlje organized together with local kindergartens and a network of volunteers individual childcare for the children of health workers on a one on one basis, i.e. one volunteer is watching over one child;
  • Trbovlje also arranged free accommodation for all health workers, who are either coming to work from other places or who cannot isolate themselves at home because they live with several people, including those in risk groups. They are freeing up local capacities if more quarantine space will be needed in the future.

Economic measures:

  • The mayor was among the first to urge the government of Slovenia to lay the groundwork for the economic and social relief as a consequence of the lock-down.

Solidarity and communication:

  • For the elderly citizens without family members living in proximity, they have a phone line open between 7.30 and 11, where they can order food items to be delivered by the Red Cross and volunteer firefighters. They are setting up a system of food delivery at home with local restaurants for the worst-case scenario;
  • The mayor together with other neighbouring municipalities is setting up an information platform to keep citizens informed of the crisis.

SLOVAKIA

UPDATED:
19.03.2020 | 17:28

Bratislava | Mayor Matúš VALLO

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Since the coronavirus is durable and can survive for longer periods of time even on surfaces, employees of the municipal enterprise started with disinfection of places where the most often contact with surfaces. They disinfected railings, stops of public transport and benches with steam;
  • Within the city budget, they have allocated 750 000 € for purchase of necessary medical supplies (protective masks, toiletries, etc.);
  • For homeless people, the city of Bratislava provided the first three “hygiene stations” in the city in cooperation with the army. These are drinking water tanks connected to gutters. The measure is intended to help homeless people to have access to drinking water and basic hygiene.

Solidarity and communication:

  • The city authorities launched a phone line to support seniors, which is available between 8:00 and 17:00 during weekdays at free number. Older residents of the city for whom the current situation is especially difficult, can contact the line with theirs during this uncertain period questions or asking for help, such as picking up medications;
  • In the same way, they launched a phone line to support parents with home-schooling and working from home with children.

SPAIN

UPDATED:
30.04.2020 | 15:35

Castile and León | Francisco IGEA ARISQUETA, Vice-president of the Government 

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The regional Ministry of Culture and Tourism has kept on promoting Easter week as one of the most important cultural, heritage and touristic resources of the autonomous community. The government added up to the #SemanaSantaEnCasa initiative by recalling previous festivities through its online channel.

Economic measures: The government has launched 4 initiatives to protect the self-employed population:

  • The ministry of culture and tourism begins processing a new strategic plan of subsidies for 2020 adapted to the current situation, with an allocation of over €19 million. The main objectives are:
    – Protection of the culture, sport and tourism of Castilla y León against the economic and social impact of the COVID-19;
    – Enhancing the value of cultural heritage as a development factor;
    – Cultural promotion;
    – Promotion of the Spanish language;
    – Promotion of physical activity and sports;
    – Promotion of tourism.
  • The regional government promotes the digitalization and secure teleworking systems for 247 SMEs and self-employed with €31.1 million to face the covid-19. The Regional Ministry of Economy and Finance, through the ICE, is launching a public-private initiative to provide personalised advice to companies and the self-employed, as well as to provide remote assistance to professionals who need technology training and specialised information for the most qualified. This collaboration is being developed with agents from the ICT sector integrated into the Digital Innovation Hub for Cybersecurity: Aetical, AEI for Cybersecurity, Incibe and technology centres.
  • The regional ministry of agriculture, farming and rural development publishes a new line of support of up to €200,000 for farms and agri-food industries to alleviate the effects of the covid-19.
  • The Regional Ministry of Economy and Finance is promoting technological and productive capacities through 24 innovative start-up proposals to help tackle the current health crisis. All these entrepreneurs strengthened their competitiveness thanks to the Accelerator 2020 program of the Institute for Business Competitiveness (ICE), which has promoted the creation of 163 new companies, with 26 million investment and the creation of 570 jobs since its inception.
  • The department of Economy and Finance postpones rent payment for over 100 offices located in its buildings, during the state of alarm. This new measure aims at boosting liquidity for more than 50 companies. The savings these companies would be able to accumulate would reach €250,0000 per month.
  • The regional government supports the agri-food industries with €65 million to maintain employment and new investments, while also prioritizing projects that include workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • For those who are at risk, “seguir adelante”: the regional government will pay the difference between their salary and the tax they have to pay monthly;
  • For those who are more stable, the government introduced the so called plan “reinicie su actividad”. Concretely, it is an economic aid by the government, covering 40% of social security taxes;
  • For those who lose their jobs, the regional government will provide 480€/per person every month so that they can actively look for a job, while still being able to pay for food and housing;
  • The last plan is devoted to those self-employed who have failed once. The regional government will provide them with €5,000 to initiate a new project.
  • The Tourism and Culture department is working on a reactivation plan with several lines of help to try to ease the Covid-19 impact on all the sectors related. The first phase of the plan will count on €8.5M to promote culture, sports and tourism. Moreover, the plan also offers help in achieving a successful process of modernization, innovation and digitalization in order to overcome the situation created by the COVID-19. Furthermore, the first phase will also take into consideration those businesses involved in tourism and sports, since due to coronavirus, these are facing economic problems. It is because of this issue, that the government will provide with financial help to all companies working within these two fields.
  • €2.4 M will be allocated on supporting 17 different projects that are currently researching on Covid-19. 17 projects have been presented. The region’s goal with this investment is for Castilla y León to keep on contributing in the fight against COVID-19.
  • The regional government has started a pack of economic measures aimed at confronting the impact of COVID-19. The amount of money that will be provided to decisive economic actors of the community reaches the quantity of €367,610,000. The government will allocate 100.6M to providing cash to over 3,000 companies; 112M will be used to promote innovation and competitiveness of the regional businesses; 92.6M will help the food and forestry sector; and 20.5M will be devoted to boost employment in companies and self-employed.

Solidarity and communication:

  • The Ministry of Employment and Industry, through the Directorate General for Trade and Consumer Affairs, has enabled a digital guide where citizens can consult which commercial establishments and pharmacies in Castile and Leon which offer home delivery during the COVID-19 crisis. This public service initiative aims to facilitate the acquisition and distribution of food, medicines and other products as long as the state of alarm lasts. This can keep the population from leaving their homes and ensuring their health while also supporting and promoting local commerce.
  • The Minister of Agriculture, Farming and Rural Development, Jesus Julio Carnero, has proposed a mechanism to bring together farmers, ranchers, cooperatives and industry to sell food products of Castile and Leon directly through a platform called ‘Campo de encuentro’.
  • The government of Castile and León created an e-mail address where doctors and nurses who want to help voluntary can indicate and sign up;
  • The government launched a new initiative for kids during coronavirus times. Given the fact that they are not going to school, a T.V. programme called “Aprendiendo en casa: la hora educativa”. Their intention is to help kids continue their learning process despite the crisis. The regional channel will, for 45 minutes every day, emit different subjects per day. This initiative has been promoted for kids from 6 to 12 years old. The educative content has been designed by publishers such as Smile&Learn, Pearson Education, Oxford University Press, Cambridge English and MaxMilland Education.

Andalusia | Manuel Alejandro CARDENETE, Vice-Minister for Tourism, Justice & Local Administration  

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The Health Department together with Info UMA have been able to design a new ventilator prototype to improve the medical assistance.
    Economic measures:
  • The government of Andalucía will inject €1,000M into the economic system of the region. €900M will be allocated to help SMEs, while the rest will be devoted to facing the health crisis.
  • The Regional Ministry of Economy has launched a platform which connects companies, R&D actors, and other innovative entities in order to order to offer quick and efficient solutions to confront COVID-19.

Economic measures:

  • The Regional Ministry of Economy, Knowledge, Business and University will open in mid-May a call for public aid for an amount of 10.9 million euros for small businesses that aims at financing, among other actions, those that are necessary to address the deconfinement.
  • The regional government of Andalucía will provide vulnerable families with cash-cards that will allow them to acquire basic needs products. Those most affected by the crisis will receive a rechargeable card from the regional administration with an amount between €150 and 250 euros per month.
  • The Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development has granted over €31 million to support tangible and intangible investments by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to promote the processing, marketing or development of new agricultural products in the agri-food sector. A total of 88 subsidies have been granted for projects involving private investment of 87.6 million euros.
  • The Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development will activate financial support measures aimed at cushioning the economic effects of the Covid-19 on the agricultural, livestock and fisheries sectors, in order to promote operations that provide liquidity to companies and help maintaining activity and employment.
  • The Andalusian government has approved the mobilization of up to €30 million in rental assistance for permanent housing to address the crisis of the coronavirus, and meet at least 8,500 applications. One hundred per cent of the total cost can be paid, for a maximum of €900. However, applicants must meet certain requirements such as being unemployed, affected by a Temporary Employment Regulation (ERTE) of be self-employed with a 40% decrease in income.
  • The Education and Sports Department of Andalucía has allocated €10 million to make sure that 31,000 students in vulnerability situations get fed every day.
  • The Andalusian government is working on a strategy to boost foreign trade and promote investment in the logistics and shipping sector, which will enable the economy to be revived once the current health crisis is overcome. This is what the Minister for the Presidency, Public Administration and Interior, Elías Bendodo, has told the Ports Committee of the Andalusian Council of Chambers. This plan, the development of which has been ongoing for months, and which, in the current context, is becoming more important, includes the improvement and modernisation of Andalusia’s logistics network and the road and rail transport network. On the tourist side, it adds the development of a joint line to attract cruise ships.
  • The Tourism, Regeneration, Justice and Local Administration Regional Ministry has created a Shock Plan to ease the effects of Covid-19 and reactivate the tourist sector. The plan is based in three main points: regaining the Andalusian market; promoting employment; and boosting investigation and digitalisation of touristic companies.
    – A €40M pack of measures has been passed to help over 150,000 self-employed people in Andalucía.
    – In order to decrease unemployment, the government of Andalucía has decided to implement 3 measures:
    o Postponing the payment of regional taxes;
    o Injecting €900M to finance credits and endorsements for companies;
    o Extending the flat rate fee throughout the whole crisis.

Solidarity and communication:

  • The Escuela Andaluza de Salud is currently sharing guidelines, videos and psychological support links.
  • From the Ministry of Tourism, videos have been released for the post COVID-19 and reactivation of the tourism sector.
  • The Andalusian Government has released messages of support to health workers, farmers and other groups as well as videos of support for Spain.

Basque country | Iñigo URKULLU RENTERIA, President of the Regional Government of the Basque Country and María Ángeles ELORZA ZUBIRÍA, Secretary-General for External Action, Basque Parliament

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The Department of Tourism has made available an interactive tool to consult the essential shops open in the Basque Country.
  • Zoning of Primary Care throughout the Basque Country: Primary health care centres throughout the Basque Country have been organised to provide the best response. Patients with respiratory pathologies that could be related to COVID-19 have been centralized in reference health centres, also in paediatrics. In this way, care for patients with this type of pathology is separated from care for other health demands.
  • The creation of an interactive data map in GeoEuskadi: Data map on the evolution of the new coronavirus COVID-19.
  • The Basque Government, together with the Basque company EricTel, has developed the app COVID-19.EUS, whose objective is to weave a CITIZENS’ NETWORK to help contain the coronavirus, contributing to its prevention, detection and monitoring.
  • Universities, vocational training centres and creative industries with 3D printers are producing quality healthcare material using 3D technology, an action highlighted by the Commission as a good european practice in the field of vocational training.
  • The department of Culture and Linguistic Policies is promoting the easy access to eLiburutegia, the biggest digital library of Spain. This electronic direction liburutegi-zerbitzua@euskadi.eus will provide any user with its password when required.

Economic measures:

  • Considering cybersecurity as a key element for the development of the economy, the Basque Government and SPRI Group (entity of the Department of Economic Development and Infrastructures of the Basque Government to promote the Basque industry) launch the aid programme for industrial cybersecurity 2020 (1.300.000 €).
    LANBIDE (Basque Employment Service) and the Department of Culture and Language Policy are launching the ‘Support Programme for Culture Professionals’, which will allocate 2.5 million to support workers of the cultural sectors.
  • The regional government of the Basque Country has presented the economic aid to support rent payments and ensure a decent housing during the COVID-19 crisis to those going through difficult economic situation. The several options which have been developed are the following:
    – 50% deduction of the rental fee
    – Moratoriums of rent payments
    – Economic aid which can reach €900 of 100% of the rental fee for those in economic vulnerability
    All detailed information can be found in this website.
  • The Basque Government has approved an extraordinary fund of 841 million for SMEs, health and disadvantaged: 200 million will be addressed to strengthen the health system; 586 million will be addressed to small and medium-sized enterprises and the self-employed; and 55 million will be addressed to the most disadvantaged individuals, families and groups.
  • The Basque Country government is offering advice on the implementation of teleworking to freelancers and SMEs, in order to support them with the use of technology. Thus, this initiative can help them continue with their daily activities from home. This service is provided electronically by a team of IT professionals with extensive experience in advising freelancers and companies.
  • ELKARGI is an urgent line of financing of €25 million of direct loans to support certain economic actors such as the self-employed and SMEs, through the Basque Institute of Finance (IVF). The goal is to mitigate the impact of the health crisis, as well as a financial effect that could collapse the treasury of Basque SMEs, micro-businesses, the self-employed population and companies as a whole.
  • Financial support program for small and medium-sized companies, entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals, as a response to the economic impact of Covid-19. This line of financing aims to cover companies’ and self-employers’ fixed costs, while taking into consideration their importance within the business community of the region.
  • The government is offering economic aid for the purchase of technologies. An amount of €2,360,000 is being devoted to support the incorporation of ICT technologies in industrial companies and companies related to industrial processes. The final goal is to increase their competitiveness. Teleworking has been included as eligible.
  • The Network of Technological Parks of the Basque Country will provide indirect financing to the companies installed in the parks by postponing the payment of the rent.
  • The department of Economic Development and Infrastructures has created a new program which has at its disposal €20 MM to allocate on the restructuring and relaunching of those companies suffering from the crisis caused by the Covid-19. This initiative would be framed within the program Bideratu, authorised by European Institutions, and it would compile all the exceptional criteria issued by these, to fight against the economic consequences of the Covid-19.
  • The government has also launched a program destined to subsidize those expenses linked to social security contributions and renting. Each person will receive a maximum of €3,000.
  • 6 MM have been offered to support those associations and companies which trade with perishable products (fishery and farming for instance). The government has suggested the purchase of the surplus of production in order to regulate its commerciality.

Solidarity and communication:

  • The Government’s Department of Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs has developed a communication campaign deployed on radio, television and digital editions and in the Basque Country’s digital media, as well as on social networks, in which it thanks people in local commerce and the hotel and catering industry in the Basque Country for their work, involvement and professionalism in the health crisis caused by the COVID19 . The campaign highlights all those businesses that have had to close temporarily in order to stop the pandemic, but it also thanks those who have opened their doors. “We’ll be back, we’ll meet again soon” is the campaign motto.
  • “GUZTION ARTEAN” is an organised solidarity network: The network is the instrument for channelling the solidarity response of citizens who, on a voluntary basis, want to support asymptomatic people who cannot leave their homes to ensure their protection: people over 70 and other vulnerable people.
    The KZgunea network offers a remote assistance service to overcome the digital breach in times of confinement through a tele-assistance service, to solve the technological doubts of the Basque citizens through channels that do not require physical presence in the centres, but which are simple to use.
  • EiTB (Basque TV) and the Department of Education of the Basque Government will promote the educational space “Bitartean, etxetik ikasten “(Meanwhile studying at home) will promote an educational program to strengthen education, especially among students who lack technological support at home.
  • The creation of a new semantic platform (Semantic Web Amarauna) aimed at non-university teachers, to create and share digital educational content.

Region of Madrid | Ignacio Jesús AGUADO CRESPO, Vice-president, Minister for Sport and Transparency and Government Spokesperson

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The regional government of Madrid has invested 68.9 million in home help for people with dependency.
  • The Community of Madrid has made a total of 50 individual apartments available to the social and health personnel working in the region’s residential centres for the duration of the COVID-19 health alert. This is an alternative for those professionals who, either because of the difficulty commuting to their workplace, or because they live with elderly or people with previous pathologies, require safe accommodation in which to live temporarily, while avoiding possible contagion among their relatives.
  • During the COVID-19 state of alert, the Community of Madrid will regulate the control of damage to crops and livestock farms caused by the increase in some species of wild fauna.
  • The Community of Madrid is working on a Tourist Recovery Plan for the region. The document should reflect the evolution of COVID-19. It will comprise of two phases that will gradually evolve as domestic and foreign tourists return. What is more, it previews a security protocol designed alongside the hospitality sector. In the first phase, proximity tourism will prevail. The focus of the promotion will be the residents of Madrid region and citizens of neighbouring communities.
  • The Community of Madrid will train teachers in the region to counteract the possible psychological effects of the evolution of COVID-19 on students. For this purpose, the Regional Centre for Innovation and Teacher Training (CRIF) Las Acacias in Madrid, together with the Official College of Psychologists of Madrid, is offering an online course (MOC) for teachers on the psychological consequences of confinement.
  • The Region of Madrid has agreed with hotel chains, the provision of 60,000 hotel beds for patients who are not sick enough to be in hospital, but who nonetheless need medical attention;
    From 20 March on no more cash payments on city buses & intercity in the whole Madrid community.
  • Passengers will enter through the back door on the network buses whose drivers do not have a protective screen.
  • The regional government promotes culture and, most precisely, photography, through a compilation of videos and virtual visits to the exhibitions held. This videos can be seen through the Isabel II channel.
    The Community of Madrid has reached an agreement with the editorial group Planeta, which will offer digital resources to public education centres. This initiative intends to provide a continuity to the school year after the suspension of its activities due to COVID-19.
  • The Regional Government has organized a hackathon, the objective of which is to offer solutions to confront the consequences of COVID-19 in different fields (health, society, economic development).
    Creation of a handbook with guidelines to carry out a good management of waste. This document has been elaborated by the Centres of Environmental Education of the region of Madrid, in order to raise awareness regarding the waste they produce and how it can be used. In this sense, the guidelines also offer ideas to activate one’s creativity.

Solidarity and communication:

  • The Community of Madrid has launched the ‘Childhood Counts’ programme, an activity that aims to involve the resident families of the Social Housing Agency (AVS), and especially the youngest ones, during confinement by the COVID-19. The received videos will be used to edit a short-movie to reflect on all the work carried out by the AVS social area during the period of confinement.
  • The Community of Madrid supports the follow-up of online classes received by children and adolescents in child protection centres during their confinement. Thanks to a collaboration agreement with Fundación Mutua Madrileña, the entity has donated 600 tablet devices so that minors can keep in touch with their teachers and be connected to do their homework.
  • The Community of Madrid has set up a telephone accompaniment service aimed at alleviating the situations of loneliness experienced by the elderly as a result of mobility limitations and the forced social distancing by the COVID-19.
  • In addition, the following initiatives are happening spontaneously and semi-spontaneously throughout Spain: online yoga classes for free to help people keep healthy; singing and music performances from balconies; public demonstrations of support for health workers, via e.g. organised applause from balconies; virtual tours of museums; online group chats; free access to online educational tools;
  • 10.000 books and 4,000 movies made available for free via E-library services.
  • The Region of Madrid has allocated a €184,000 solidarity fund to serve those adults in need for special guidance, who have run out of resources due to the state of alarm.
  • The region of Madrid has promoted a solidarity campaign which consists on the elaboration of letters for those who are hospitalized and isolated due to coronavirus.
  • The Regional Ministry for Culture and Tourism has made it possible for musicians to play concerts at the temporary hospital set up at IFEMA. This initiative has the intention of thanking and granting personal support to the health workers working to help all the patients infected by coronavirus.
    The government launched a campaign to collect financial contributions to improve the medical conditions in the region of Madrid. This initiative has managed to collect €14.1M throughout the first week.

Economic measures:

  • The Community of Madrid will maintain and speed up its entire line of aid to the audio-visual industry, taking into account the impact that the evolution of COVID-19 is having on the sector. In addition, it will increase its support for the development of audiovisual projects, up to a sum of 1.6 million euros.
  • The Community of Madrid has presented the measures approved by the regional government to protect SMEs and the self-employed who are suffering the effects of the COVID-19.
    To this end, the regional government has earmarked 38.2 million euros to finance the Plan Continúa, which will enable more than 70,000 self-employed people in the region affected by COVID-19 to be paid an amount equivalent to the social security contributions for March and April.
    In order to provide liquidity to the self-employed population who wish to maintain their activity, the government has promoted the Plan Impulsa, with a total budget of €17 million. It offers self-employers, without any employee under their care, direct assistance in a single payment of €3,200 which correspond to the payment of an annual social security contribution base.
    Moreover, together with the help of Avalmadrid, a specific €12 million fund has been destined to promote the access to financialisation for SMEs and self-employed.
  • The Government of Madrid has approved the allocation of 4 million euros to the “Industria 4.0” programme for the digital transformation of industrial SMEs in the region during 2020. The aim of this programme is to boost and improve the competitiveness of Madrid’s business fabric, in an economic context, particularly complicated by the effects of the health crisis caused by COVID-19. Eligible projects submitted by applicants must relate to tangible and intangible investments with a minimum budget of €40,000, or to consultancy services with a maximum investment of 40,000 euros.
  • Launch of a renting service for those affected by the coronavirus. The government of the region of Madrid has set up an initiative to help renters face the current economic situation due to coronavirus. Hence, a study will be carried out during the following days to detect which renters are in a vulnerable economic situation. After this selection process, the government will act as intermediary between the two parts in order to achieve a deal which favours everyone.
  • The government of the region of Madrid has passed a financial support plan for SMEs and self-employed, to help them cope with the economic impact of the crisis. The plan has €220M at its disposal, 68.2M of which will be used as economic aid, while the rest will serve as financing through endorsements.

City of Madrid | Begoña VILLACÍS, Vice-alcaldesa de Madrid

Public services, health and confinement

  • Three pavilions at the Madrid Fair (IFEMA) converted into a provisional hospital against the virus, with up to 5,500 beds.
  • A free special bus line to take volunteers and health workers to the temporary IFEMA Temporary
  • Hospital has been set up by the local authority.
  • Health professionals from public and private hospitals are allowed free parking in municipal parking spaces.
  • The provision of taxi service is reduced to 50% on working days, except for taxis intended to transport disabled or vulnerable people.
  • Municipal sports centres’ coaches offer free classes through the “I train at home” Instagram account.
  • The city of Madrid has promoted an initiative known as “MADRID SALE AL BALCÓN” (Madrid gets to the balcony), a space for citizen proposals to improve the quality of life of the population during the state of emergency. Three hundred initiatives have already been collected.
  • The initiative called “CONECTA JUVENTUD 2.0” (Connected Youth 2.0) seeks to promote, among young people, the practice of a healthy leisure from home during the health emergency.
  • The cultural spaces of the City Council maintain their presence on websites and social networks, both making their most outstanding activities available to citizens at any time of the day.
    Massive street cleaning, hosing down the ground with disinfectant and bleach, particularly in crowded areas.

Economic measures

  • The collection of Vehicle Tax and Garage Tax has been postponed.
  • In order to protect families at risk, 2,500 cards with 100 euro each have been distributed by social services to them. The aim is to ensure these families can access food.
  • A reduction of 63 million in local taxes has been decreed for companies in the leisure, catering, commerce and travel agencies that maintain employment
  • Monthly rent collection will be postponed for all 6,000 tenants in municipal subsidized housing units. Any planned eviction will also be postponed.
  • Suspension of the municipal fees for merchants in Madrid’s 46 markets, and for booksellers in the street bookshops.

Solidarity and communication

  • A hotel has been set up in order to serve asylum seekers and homeless people without symptoms. Those who present symptoms of illness will be transferred to other asylum seekers centres. A second hotel has been set up for homeless with symptoms.
  • Extension of the winter campaign for two additional months until May 31 to protect the homeless, providing 479 places.
  • Madrid is catering 15,000 meals a day for the elderly and the sick, and a total of 7,500 daily meals are being delivered to vulnerable families (500 of these meals to children who attended Infant Schools of the Madrid City Council).
  • All social devices regarding gender-based violence are maintained. Furthermore, a campaign has been carried out to remind the population that measures continue enforced despite the confinement.
  • The initiative “Adopt a grandfather” consists of volunteers answering a phone 24 hours a day to talk and accompany elderly people who are home alone.
  • The city has promoted a campaign that calls for solidarity between neighbours to alleviate the isolation.
  • The municipal markets of Madrid, essential in supplying food to the city, have started a solidarity initiative to thank health workers for their efforts to curb the effects of COVID-19: several tons of fruit have been distributed to them.

Region of Murcia | Juan José MARTINEZ LOZANO, Director General for the European Affairs

Public services, health and confinement: The Government of Murcia has also started a plan which focuses on corporate social responsibility and, through it, is managing health and sanitary materials and items, as well as other services. This way, the department in charge of Employment affairs in Murcia has restructured part of its resources to deal with the offers of the business community in Murcia, as well as to make a good use of them. There are three types of offers:

  • The Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT) and the Federation of Empresarios del Metal de Murcia (FREMM) have started to manufacture a coronavirus ventilator, the prototype has been designed by the Mercedes (Formula1) team of engineers, and researchers of the University College London Hospital. The initial prototype could be manufactured in two weeks.
  • The Regional Ministry of Education and Culture has published and sent to the educational centres of the Region of Murcia, the instructions on how the third trimester of the school year should be carried out and how the end of the course should be contemplated. It stresses that the development of this final section will be based primarily on reinforcement tasks, and the consolidation and recovery of what has been taught in person.
    These instructions establish that those educational centres that decide to advance new content will be able to evaluate the students, as long as these do not harm the final results.
  • First of all, the donations done by certain associations, such as the “Makers of Murcia” who are creating goggles with 3D printers;
  • Secondly, services such as apps to verify information, or worked-hour registration systems in order to improve telework;
  • The last group would be those companies which are focused on producing and selling sanitizing products.
  • The Education department will provide students with training material. The region adds 2,500 SIM cards in order to reach a greater amount of students in Non-compulsory education and Professional training. The program coordinating it will be called “TeleEduca” and it aims at providing the necessary material to receive a good education during Covid-19, to those students that cannot easily Access on-line education.
  • The development institute held a webinar on teleworking, cybersecurity and e-commerce, in which over 135 entrepreneurs and companies decided to participate.
    The autonomous community has set up a telephone number and an email address to solve local authorities’ doubts and questions regarding the SMEs and self-employed during the health crisis. The councillor for Business and Industry highlights the importance of cooperation and collaboration between Local and Regional Administrations to reduce the economic impact of the current situation.

Economic measures:

  • The regional government will allocate €4 million to help self-employed people who have lost between 40 and 75 percent of their turnover. In particular, the aid consists on a single financial benefit, of €286, to assist with the fixed costs that every self-employed person must bear in order to maintain, as far as possible, his or her activity.
  • The government passed the proposal of eliminating taxes and postponing the payment of regional taxes to face the health crisis;
  • The region is preparing a package of measures with a €10M value in order to keep the economic impact of coronavirus from growing. This package will be devoted to enhance and improve the business ecosystem of the region. €7M will be allocated to financial instruments for co-investment for entrepreneurs and growth, while a completely new line for tourist accommodation investments will be provided with 250,000€. Moreover, the government will offer the companies fighting against the effects of coronavirus a wide variety of mechanisms to find easier solutions. These mechanisms will have a total bursary of €2.7M and will deal with problems on internationalization, innovation or skilling and teleworking. The names of the checks will be “Cheque TIC COVID” and “Cheque Innovación COVID”.
  • The regional Ministry for Education and Culture has launched a program called “Plan CREA”. Its goal consists on promoting culture and enhancing it with economic aid, given the situation with coronavirus. Five thousand euros will be given to those audio-visuals that are made available to the citizens of the region. The money has been provided by the Institute for Cultural and Art Industry (ICA) and the regional Ministry for Presidency. Moreover, the Councillor for Culture has also explained that a new set of measures will be defined to boost the cultural and creative industries from 2020-2022.
    The Regional Government is working on the support of local authorities to guarantee their ordinary functioning. In this sense, it has allocated €3.8M on 19 different city councils in order to strengthen their treasury during the health crisis.
  • Regional companies will benefit from a €9M aid provided by the development institute of Murcia. The councillor for Business and Industry explained that the development institute is currently allocating all its resources in financial aid for Murcian companies. Moreover, the above-mentioned body will also offer special financial contributions (€1.5M) to those companies that wish to go through a technological transition during COVID-19.
  • The Regional Ministry for Water, Agriculture, Farming, Fishery and Environment has payed €300,000 to help, financially, the development of activities of the Denomination of Origin regulatory councils. Hence, the regional government is keeping up its commitment to promote Murcian products, while also highlighting the hard work done by these entities, and the high quality of their products.
    Murcia has created a strategic plan for the recovery of industrial activity called PERAI_20. This Project will be developed in 3 phases: analysis; action measures; and monitoring. The plan is intended to last for a year and its main objective is to ease the negative effects caused by the COVID-19 crisis in the industrial sector. However, the Councillor for Business and Industry, Ana Martínez Vidal, stresses the need to be supported by National and EU institutions.

Solidarity and communication:

  • Salud provides a tool to locate health resources from one’s mobile phone together with the latest information on the Covid-19.
  • The regional government has made available to citizens the multi-platform ‘Geosalud’, which has a street map to find the closest route to the hospital or health centre
  • The Education and Culture Department of the Government of Murcia has launched a campaign called #MeCulturizoEnCasaRMurcia which is basically aimed at population of all ages during the confinement due to the Coronavirus. Concerts and musicals are being posted on YouTube in order to spread culture during these difficult tiles.

Region of Cantabria | Paula FERNÁNDEZ VIAÑA, Member of a Regional Government of Cantabria

Public services, health and confinment:

  • The Department of Innovation, Industry, Transport and Trade, through SODERCAN, has started a round of contacts with the industrial clusters in Cantabria to analyse the situation of the different sectors to try to anticipate the situation of the companies after the COVID-19.
    The Minister of Industry, Francisco Martín, has pointed out that “now more than ever, we must start thinking about the possible scenarios in which our SMEs will find themselves once this health crisis ends, which will foreseeably give way to a difficult situation for them, both from the adaptation of products and processes, the search for new sales niches and markets or suppliers”.
  • The Regional Ministry of Employment and Social Policies of the Region of Cantabria, in cooperation with the Cantabrian Institute of Social Services, has launched a telephone service to provide psychological and emotional support to those who work in nursing homes. According to the director of the ICASS, the ultimate goal is to help employees regulate and process their emotions and relieve their stress.
  • The Vice-presidency of the government of Cantabria has launched a project called “A life in quarantine, images for our memory”. An initiative which encourages its citizens to reflect through photos their daily lives during the confinement period. The outcome of this proposal will create a valuable historical archive which will be exhibited through social networks, media or expositions.The Vice-presidency of Cantabria is currently working on the upcoming call for subsidies for knowledge transfer, to provide research groups with liquidity, with the aim of supporting critical research as those on covid-19. Funding for the socioeconomic recovery of the region will also be reinforced.
  • The cooperation between the Valdecilla Virtual Hospital, the Public Health Service, and the University of Cantabria has managed to provide the region with extraction kits and strengthen the prevention system against the pandemic. Cantabria can now manufacture up to 3,000 nasopharyngeal swabs per day, suitable for performing microbiological tests (PCR) to detect coronavirus. The region thus, has become one of the first in Europe to achieve autonomy in this respect.
  • The Vice-president of Cantabria, through the General Directorate of Cultural Action, has promoted several cultural activities to take place online during Easter Break.
  • The institute for statistics of Cantabria (ICANE) has created a web page to monitor the situation caused by COVID-19 with daily updated data on the evolution of the pandemic in Cantabria and Spain.  The web page offers a global vision of the region with graphs on the active cases, people admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) discharges and deaths, together with maps per municipality.

Economic measures:

  • The Regional Government, the employers’ association CEOE-CEPYME and the trade unions CCOO and UGT have signed the Social Dialogue Agreement of Cantabria to face the COVID-19. This document includes a series of measures, with a total value of more than €90 million, to guarantee health protection against the pandemic, to support the most vulnerable people and to promote employment and economic activity in the Community.
    The agreement provides for two phases of implementation. In the first of these, the creation of the COVID-19 Health Fund, with a budget of almost €50 million. Moreover, measures will be implemented to guarantee the income of individuals and households, and a series of actions to reactivate and maintain economic activity in the Autonomous Community will be implemented.The second phase will consist on a reconstruction plan with measures aimed at boosting activity in the region’s various social sectors, such as employment and active policies, industry, trade, tourism, the primary sector and culture, as well as university education, research, women’s policies, the digital divide between the different territories and public investment
  • The Regional Councillor for Education, Professional Training and Tourism, Marina Lombó, has stated today that her department has “already prepared” a ‘Take-off Plan’ worth 8.3 million euros and designed to revitalise the tourism sector, once the opening of accommodation and restaurants is allowed. The Councillor explained that, in addition to offering a direct aid line of two million euros, the public company Cantur will make free tickets available to accommodation and catering establishments in the facilities it manages and, furthermore, will undertake two promotional campaigns to which it will allocate a total of 800,000 euros.
  • The Government of Cantabria has developed a shock plan to protect citizens against the COVID-19 pandemic and to promote economic activity, with a total allocation of 306 million euros, 113.7 and 192.6, respectively, resulting from the reorganization of the budget of the Autonomous Community for 2020. In general terms, this plan prioritizes the fight against the coronavirus; guarantees the income of those families which need it the most; provides a boost to key sectors of the regional economy such as primary care tourism and industry; and complements with 7 million euros the 70% benefit received by workers affected by a Temporary Employment Regulation Scheme (ERTE).
  • The Vice-presidency of Cantabria is currently working on the upcoming call for subsidies for knowledge transfer, to provide research groups with liquidity, with the aim of supporting critical research as those on covid-19. Funding for the socioeconomic recovery of the region will also be reinforced.
  • The Government of Cantabria will supplement the Basic Social Income to all those families with underaged children with an extra €75 per child. This increase is intended to be devoted to the purchase of food and hygiene products.
  • The Councillor for Employment and Social Policies, Ana Belén Álvarez, has highlighted the importance of ensuring the right to food security of all the underaged population trapped in social vulnerability. In order to achieve this essential goal, it has been determined that, from April on to six months, 2,066 families will receive financial support.

Solidarity and communication:

  • The Ministry of Employment and Social Policies has begun the transfer of a group of migrants who were living in adverse conditions in an abandoned building in Santander, to the Soto Iruz Monastery in Santiurde de Toranzo.
  • The accommodation in the residence of the Convent, which has about 50 places available, has been possible thanks to the involvement of the Ministry of Employment and Social Policy, the Bishopric of Santander, various NGOs and a group of citizens, who have collaborated and convinced those affected to move from Santander.

ITALY

UPDATED:
25.03.2020 | 13:45

Gerace | Giuseppe VARACALLI, Member of Gerace Municipal Council

Solidarity and communication:

  • The municipal department of sanitation made this video to inform people how to protect themselves during the crisis.

IRELAND

UPDATED:
05.04.2020 | 10:09

Louth | Erin MCGREEHAN, Member of Louth Municipal Council

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Structure payment plans for residents of local council housing who have lost their jobs or are on reduced income due to the lockdown
  • For people in vulnerable situations: Collection and delivery of food, essential household items, medication; Transport to non-covid related GP/Hospital Appointments; Social Isolation support and engagement; Meals and delivery

Solidarity and Communication:

  • Establishment of the COVID-19 Louth Diary Project, which invites citizens to keep a daily diary of their experience during the lockdown, to be included in the archives of the Council as a historical record of this pandemic as seen through the eyes of the people of Louth. The diaries can include photographs and sound recordings.
  • Here is a video message from Erin on the situation in Ireland.

Cork | Gillian COUGHLAN, Member of Cork Council

Public services, health and confinement: Establishment of a centralised community support programme coordinating the work of statutory and voluntary agencies that provide help to people in vulnerable situations, with a single phone number and email address

Solidarity and Communication: The “Teen Talks” events aimed at helping teenagers with health and mental health have been moved online and refocused to address issues related to living in confinement. They have also been opened up to adults.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown | Kate FEENEY, Member of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

Public services, health and confinement:

  • The Council library has loaned its 3-D printers to a local company that can use them to produce PPE face visors for medical staff treating COVID-19 patients.
  • Establishment of a new dedicated helpline for elderly and vulnerable people needing help with food deliveries, medicine, or fuels. Working with local sports clubs and volunteers to provide extra service.
  • Redeployment of Housing Maintenance crews to focus on disinfecting common areas in the Council’s properties specific to elderly people, including letter boxes, handles, grab rails, etc.
  • The Council sports team have produced videos on how to exercise at home and stay healthy.
  • The library has replaced the traditional ‘Storytime’ sessions for children which used to take place in the library by daily Facebook live ‘Storytime’ sessions run daily from Monday to Friday at 10:30am.
  • Library registration has been moved fully online so that members of the public can join the library to download audio books
  • A list of biodiversity ideas and activities people can do at home during the lockdown has been prepared here.

Offaly County Council | Eamon Dooley, Member of Offaly County Council

Public services, health and confinement:

  • Establishment of a centralised community support programme coordinating the work of statutory and voluntary agencies that provide help to people in vulnerable situations, with a single phone number and email address.

Economic measures

  • Working with local businesses to defer the payment of rates and advising local businesses on the financial support opportunities put in place by the national government.

SWEDEN

UPDATED:
02.04.2020 | 12:49

Kungsbacka | Ulrika LANDERGREN, Member of Kungsbacka Municipal Council

Economic measures:

  • The Kungsbacka Municipality created a platform where people can register themselves in order to work on temporary jobs that the commune offers;
  • Financial support desk: This is created for free advices in terms of loans, regulations or business overall. There is also a possibility to apply for income support through the financial desk.

Solidarity and communication:

  • Help desk: This is created for volunteers. If a person wants to help others for their grocery shopping or dog walking etc. the person can call and volunteer.