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COVID-19: Algarve Councils outline individual measures to respond to the virus

3amal measuresDeferral of deadlines for the payment of water bills, deferral and/or exemption from the payment of rents on public concessioned equipment, exemption from the fees for the occupation of public roads such as the A22 (OVP’s), and suspension of tourist taxes. These are measures that join those already implemented by the municipalities in the Algarve, to alleviate the impact of the pandemic in the region.

With the evolution of the COVID-19 situation, in a context of uncertainty, and in order to follow the guidelines and decisions of the Government, the 16 municipalities of the Algarve have adopted several measures to support the general population and business owners.

Yesterday, at a meeting of AMAL – the Algarve Intermunicipal Community, a few more were taken. From the outset, payments of water bills were deferred until May (conditions will then be created to be paid in instalments).

AMAL agreed to establish other measures to help in this context of crisis: defer and/or exempt the payment of rents on concessioned public equipment; exempt the fees for the occupation of public roads, and exempt the tourist tax in the municipalities that apply it.

It should be noted that each municipality will, depending on its reality and its financial capacity, adapt the measures to the specificity of each territory, being able to apply broader decisions themselves.

The situation will be regularly monitored and, at the end of May, the need to maintain or launch new measures will be considered. It should be noted in particular the municipality of Vila Real de Santo António, which, as it is receiving help from the Municipal Support Fund, will not be able to adopt the above measures for the time being, however they are in a dialogue with the fund in order to be allowed to apply some support measures to the population in the context of the pandemic.

As for social support, it has been a point “that has deserved more attention, and the first to be addressed. All municipalities are making an effort to identify the most vulnerable population (the elderly, people with autoimmune or chronic diseases, with reduced mobility, the most isolated, among others) so that they do not lack support in the acquisition and delivery of food, hygiene products and medicines, allowing this fringe of the population to remain at home”.

This measure has been developed with the teams at each municipal council, volunteers from the Private Social Solidarity Institutions, sports clubs, and other entities that have shown their willingness to help.

Another of the areas that has been relevant relates precisely to the constraints and support being channelled to economic activity and, “in view of the effects of the restrictions dictated by the government, the possible implementation of measures to further minimize this impact will be evaluated, in conjunction with the business communities of the municipalities” .

For now, and in order to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on local economic activities, the Algarve’s councils will proceed with the measures mentioned above. AMAL suggests that citizens consult the communication channels of each individual municipality (institutional websites and Facebook pages of the municipalities) to learn, in detail, the measures that are being implemented in each territory.

The Community’s focus “remains cantered on protecting the health and well-being of the population of the Algarve, which is why it is calling, once again, to comply with the recommendations of the Directorate-General for Health”.