Portimão announces €2 million fund for families and businesses affected by outbreak

Portimão Council has announced a €2 million “social emergency fund” to support families and businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement was made on Thursday (April 2) following the creation of the special fund, which outlines 20 measures described as “exceptional and temporary”.

Says the council, they aim to “mitigate the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, not only in terms of public health but also in social and economic terms”.

Households in financial difficulties will be exempt from paying water and social housing until May 31, having the option to then settle outstanding payments all at once (in the case of social housing rents) or throughout 18 months, interest-free, in both cases.

Support to purchase vital medicine will also be extended to more people. Beneficiaries will be asked to sign a declaration as proof of their dire financial situation.

Other measures include exemptions on public space use charges, as well as the suspension of a tourist tax until 2021.

A total of €60,000 has been set aside for local charities, including the Casa Paroquial de Nossa Senhora do Amparo (social support for the needy), Cáritas (social support), APF (family planning association), and MAPS (Aids support group). These associations have also been providing food and other supplies for the homeless.

The council has also given the homeless free access to public toilets and showers as well as individual hygiene kits.

Also planned is the creation of a voucher (cartão solidário) to be used by needy families to buy food at the municipal market and cleaning/ hygiene products at local shops.

These measures will remain in place until May 31, after which they will be “re-assessed” depending on the development of the outbreak.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com