COVID-19 UPDATES FROM RENEW EUROPE MEMBERS

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.

CROATIA

UPDATED:
30.03.2020 | 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:

  • 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:
25.03.2020 | 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:

  • 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:
02.04.2020 | 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.

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.

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.

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:
02.04.2020 | 15:45

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

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

  • 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”. Concretly, 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.

Solidarity and communication:

  • 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.

Solidarity and communication:

  • The Escuela Andaluza de Salud is currently sharing guidelines, videos and psychological support links.

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 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.

Economic measures:

  • 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.

Solidarity and communication:

  • 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 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.

Solidarity and communication:

  • 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.

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:

  • 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.

Economic measures:

  • 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”.

Solidarity and communication:

  • 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.

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:
26.03.2020 | 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.

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.