We all face the problems of COVID19 and islands handle this on their own special way. We want to give you an update from our partners. In what way did they respond to this problem?
The first case of COVID-19 in the Azores was diagnosed on the 15th of March. Since then, the region has reached a total of 145 cases, spread throughout 7 of its 9 islands, namely, 107 cases in São Miguel, 11 in Terceira, 5 in Graciosa, 7 in São Jorge, 10 in Pico and 5 in Faial. The other three islands (Corvo, Flores and Santa Maria) haven’t had any diagnosed case of COVID-19.
To control the pandemic the Government of the Azores, amongst several other measures, closed the public services (we are all teleworking) and imposed a 14 day quarantine to all incoming travelers in lodging facilities, in Terceira and São Miguel (the only two islands where flights from coming from outside the region are landing).
Also, on the biggest and most populated island (São Miguel), the Government imposed, during the month of April, mobility restrictions between each municipality, in order to decrease non-essential movement.
Two months after the first reported COVID-19 cases, the Azores have 25 active cases, 104 recoveries and 16 deaths.
With the recognized impact throughout the world of this pandemic, the obstacles, or even the prohibition, in the mobility, clearly brings a more serious impact on the Islands, especially to the archipelagos, in the very dynamics of basic survival of the communities (supply, medical assistance, even simple goods).
One of sectors where the impact of COVID will be significant in the Azores is Tourism, which is one of the axes identified in RIS3 Azores (focus of the Azores project in the islands of innovation) and has acted in recent years as a major pillar of economic development in the Region and a catalyst for other economic sectors.
Aware of this impact and of the importance of maintaining communication channels with their audiences, the regional authorities quickly launched a promotional campaign for Azores Tourism, under the title “Azores is taking a break”, which we consider to be a good example of measures that the Azores are creating in the face of this pandemic, in a sector as important as Tourism.
“Azores is taking a break”
We think these videos could be an interesting contribution to the project and to INTERREG, as an example of attitudes of islands policy makers to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. But there are other examples that we find interesting, and even innovative, in the way the community is reinventing itself to respond to the difficulties that this pandemic is creating.
Here are some examples:
1) Manufacturing of safety visors - companies based in Parque de Ciência e Tecnologia NONAGON (at São Miguel island), made their 3D printers available to produce safety visors for hospitals in the Azores and mainland Portugal
2) Production of social masks - a small factory that used to produce uniforms and shirts has now started to produce masks for social use, in order to contribute to the effort to contain COVID-19.
3) Digital platform “Açores em Casa” - a partnership between ARTAC and WAKA Web Studio established a digital platform called “Açores em Casa” (Azores at home), where all public and private entities/business can promote their online and home services and take-away regime. For example, after a quick and simple search through the platform, all the Azoreans know what services are available in their residence zone.
Watch their corona update here: https://youtu.be/O4AnRWBn9t0
Watch their corona update here: https://youtu.be/Xe2tplVXQGY
Watch their corona update here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiXeOn7KA9U
Oerol Festival is working on an active digital Oerol experience where the island feeling will not be far away.
Oerol festival can not sit still even during corona times. To bring a small piece of Terschelling (on of the Frisian islands) to everyone's living room, Oerol makes a digital alternative. They focus on imagination and it can be followed from anywhere. Everyone is welcome at Het Imaginaire Eiland from 15 to 19 June. The Oerol festival - as they are used to - was canceled due to the corona virus. Together with the makers, the Oerol Team has compiled an up-to-date program that takes place largely virtually. Wherever you are: you experience the island through the eyes of the makers, the island feeling is never far away. So keep a close eye on the website and wander around the island in pixels in June.