The mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, has acknowledged the help received from people and institutions during the corona lockdown. She mentions that a total of €211,000 has been donated in the form of food, medicine, protective masks and clothing, medical equipment and disinfectants. More than 140 people in Sofia have received warm food daily. Furthermore, 238 citizens joined as volunteers. You can read more on the mayor’s Facebook page (in Bulgarian)
Residents of Lithuania can travel around the world by visiting their capital, Vilnius, this summer. While travelling abroad will be limited in this holiday season, communities of the city, tour and event organisers, restaurants, hotels and artists have teamed up to create an exotic experience at home. The project is expected to help businesses that have lost tourist traffic due to the corona restrictions. The programme starts next weekend, 5-7 June, with Italy in Vilnius, followed by India and the USA. You can read more here
Pedestrians can walk on the streets in the centre of Brussels, with cars going on a maximum speed of 20 km/h. Until mid-August, the city centre is treated as residential area. The measure shall promote cycling and walking while ensuring physical distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus. You can read more here. The city also plans for 40 extra kilometres of cycle paths.
The University Hospital of Dusseldorf in cooperation with the Youth and the Health Department will conduct a clinical model study testing 5,000 children and childcare workers in June, when Kindergartens are reopened after the corona lockdown. The results of the voluntary tests shall inform the research concerning the dissimination of the coronavirus through children. It is the most extensive study of its kind in Germany. You can read more here (in German)
Starting 1 June, public transport passes will become almost 50% cheaper for the unemployed in Braga, Portugal. The city had made it’s buses free of charge in April and May. With returning to normal operations after the corona lockdown, the passes with reduced fee will be introduced to support those in need. You can read more here
Muslims celebrating ‘Eid al-Fitr’, the religious festival of breaking the fast at the end of the month of Ramadan, did get bags with tasty sweets brought to their homes last weekend in Dusseldorf. The initiative ‘Refugees welcome in Düsseldorf’ had donated 50 bags to muslim refugees in corona quarantine.
In order to ensure that information and support in the corona crisis can reach the most marginalised and vulnerable people, the city of Leeds is working with a network of community-based organisations to support ‘Communities of Interest’: groups of people who share an identity, for example people with a learning disability, or those who share an experience, such as the homeless community. Since the amount of information and guidance can be overwhelming and confusing, partner organisations act as a ‘link’ to support the flow of information. You can read more here
With restaurants suffering severely from the impacts of the corona lockdown, the city of Dusseldorf wants to help restaurant owners by giving permissions to enlarge outdoor terraces. That way they can host more guests at the same time whilst applying to safety regulations. You can read more here (in German)
Athens is banning cars from its historic centre for three months from mid-June to provide more space to pedestrians to physical distance. The measure, which could be further extended for another three months, is seen as a precursor to the project announced by the Athens Municipality, and approved last week by City Hall, foreseeing the creation of a large pedestrianized network unifying downtown areas of the Greek capital. More information here.
Madrid is curbing the return of cars to its streets by cutting traffic on several roads to allow children to play and exercise on the road on their bikes, scooters and rollerblades. More information (in Spanish) here.
The city has also opened a new car park reserved entirely for shared vehicles. More information (in Spanish) here.
The addition of 45km of new bus lanes is expected to further support residents who want to avail of public transport rather than turning to using cars. More information (in Spanish) here.
Antwerp is taking measures to reduce the return of cars to the street and provide safe mobility options for locals, including by promoting safe walking and cycling and adding new features to its mobility map and route planner, as well as supporting companies to continue allowing employees to work from home. More information here.
Rome’s city council has approved the construction of 150 kilometers of temporary and permanent cycle routes on the city’s main streets and along other key routes to support social distancing as well as general health and wellbeing. More information here.
Brno is supporting the areas of business that have been most affected, such as gastronomy and tourism & culture, and has also approved complex measures for businesspeople. It provides easier administration of permits for the outdoor areas of restaurants, and it also suggests that the establishment of these areas should be done at no extra cost to the proprietor.
Manchester has committed to creating enhanced space for pedestrians and people on bikes across the city-region, to enable people to keep their distance for safe essential journeys and exercise during the coronavirus lockdown and through recovery. £5 million of funding has been made available through the Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund. More information here.
Bordeaux has developed an emergency cycling plan that responds to physical distancing requirements. The measures should help ensure that cycling infrastructure can accommodate any potential wave of new cyclists. NGOs working to promote cycling and cycling service operators have helped to develop it.
The city wants to entice people who would not normally cycle to do so, particularly those who regularly use public transport. The plan focuses on 100 priority zones within the metropolitan area that have a high potential for cycling but currently lack the appropriate infrastructure. In total, Bordeaux is building 78km of temporary bike lanes. More information here.
Madrid has developed a recovery plan for mobility that seeks to guarantee health and safety, provision of public services, and restoring confidence in the use of public transport. The recovery plan, which affects everything from buses and cable cars to cranes and parking is available (in Spanish) here.
Dublin has released a framework of mobility proposals together with the National Transport Authority, ‘Enabling the city to return to work’. This plan proposes measures such as more space for pedestrians, cyclists and where people are waiting for public transport, and possible additional parking in the periphery of the city core area. The plan is available to read in full here.
Madrid’s municipal transport company increased its operational bus fleet to 90% of normal service at peak times in response to the first stage of deconfinement, which began on 25 May. The buses are running with a much lower capacity, having blocked off half of the available seats and capped the number of people who may travel standing. More information (in Spanish) here.
This move has come in combination with a new campaign to raise awareness about the needs of disabled people traveling on public transport. Learn about the campaign (in Spanish) here.
20 outdoor stages for concerts and performances in parks, movie screenings under the stars – some of the things Sofia has planned for the summer culture programme, after the corona lockdown. Also the zoo, the city library and the Regional History Museum will be open, yet all with a maximum capacity of 30%. You can read more here (in Bulgarian).
Vilnius has given 2,000 reusable face masks to senior citizens. As the Lithuanian government is moving ahead with easing quarantine, free food support to the most vulnerable people is being replaced with reusable face masks. Seniors, disabled people and other Vilnius residents at risk, little by little are starting to move around the city and supermarkets. Therefore, Vilnius Municipality decided give them free reusable face masks with the symbol of the capital and flyers with recommendations on how to protect yourself. More information here.
Paris started to gradually ease confinement on 11 May. Doing so has involved a host of measures, from distributing face masks and increasing testing, to information campaigns, reopening of schools, introduction of new bike lanes, and support measures for businesses, cultural institutions, NGO’s and other organisations that are now opening up. These measures are evolving as the situation progresses – read a full updated overview of these measures in English here, or in French here.
Guimarães has begun the the disinfection of the kindergartens of the public preschool network, through a specialized company, with a view to reopening next Monday, 1 June. This process started last Monday and runs throughout this week, covering around 50 schools in the municipality, in all school groups.
The Ministries of Education and Social Security have issued guidelines for the reopening of kindergartens, which open doors for children aged three to five again. The document for kindergartens indicates that “under no circumstances can masks be put on children.” These personal protective equipment will only have to be worn by adults. More information (in Portuguese) here.
Helsinki is operating a hotline which elderly residents can call to get advice and information on how to maintain their well-being and ability to function during the coronavirus period. The hotline has been very popular thus far. More information here.
Cities were hit hardest by the corona pandemic – Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence and vice-president of Eurocities, declares a state of social and economic emergency for his city and many others across Europe. In an article published on Euractiv, he argues that cities are key for a sustainable recovery in Europe.
“Cities need direct and rapid access to national and European funding – otherwise we will collapse,” Dario Nardella writes in view of the new EU budget and post COVID-19 recovery fund presented today, Wednesday, by the European Commission. “In exchange, cities have a lot to offer. We can inspire national and European politics to build back better, to create a sustainable recovery.”
Karlsruhe marked Europe Day with a performance of Ode to Joy from the city’s balconies and windows. Four musicians of the Karlsruhe City Youth Orchestra at the town hall, members of the Badische Staatskapelle at the Baden State Theater and five groups in different locations in the Grötzingen district supported this expression instrumentally. A simultaneous performance took place in Karlsruhe’s twin city Nancy to mark 65 years of friendship, as well as Nancy’s other twin city, Lublin.
Madrid is running a campaign to raise awareness among public transport users about the importance of following daily gestures such as respecting seat priority for people with disabilities, people with reduced mobility, pregnant women or the elderly. These gestures will make mobility easier and more pleasant for these groups who are particularly impacted by deconfinement measures. Read more here (in Spanish)
The city will distribute 20,000 visors to people and entities that need them, but don’t have the means to buy them. These will be distributed for example to daycare, kindergartens, health centres, parish councils, volunteer firefighters, hospitals, and schools. Read more here (in Portuguese)
The Hague is taking measures to ensure pupils can get to school safely by respecting physical distancing. Fifteen elementary schools introduced ‘School Streets’, closing the streets to traffic twice a day – coinciding with school opening and closing hours. Read more info here
The Municipal Fair will soon reopen following the new measures of the municipality’s deconfinement plan, aiming at guaranteeing security, and a pleasant participation to the fair. The plan also includes measures on how to respond to suspicion of contamination cases. Read more here (in Portuguese)
Ghent has put in place measures to guarantee that the reopening of shops was safe for all. Pedestrians have to follow directions like traffic, and on main shopping streets they’ll find ‘waiting spots’ on the pavement in case of queues. A group of 30 ‘warm-hearted shopping street assistants’ are available to answer questions and mediate in case of problems. To make it easy for shoppers to wash their hands often, the city has also installed washbasins, and to encourage the use of bikes, Ghent has added bicycle parking in the area. Read more here
‘Future for kids in Dusseldorf’ is a prevention programme to support parents-to-be and first-time parents. Consultation via phone or at home – while following the corona hygiene regulations – is offered during the pandemic. You can read more here (in German)
Employees, students, pensioners or artists in Dusseldorf who suffer from substantial financial losses due to the coronavirus can be granted a onetime aid up to €1,000. The money can be used to enable participation, for example via online learning tools or newspaper subscriptions. You can read more here (in German)
With a step-by-step approach, the city of Dusseldorf wants to keep coronavirus infection numbers low and prevent a new spread. The daily monitoring will be continued. Should the infection number rise to 30 per 100,000 citizens in seven consecutive days, communication and control of the regulations, like physical distancing and wearing of masks, will be reinforced. From 50 new infections, stronger restrictions can be implemented. You can read more here (in German)
The youth centre activities of the Finnish city of Espoo went online during the corona lockdown. Young people are meeting on digital platforms like Discord to chat or play games, they share images via Instagram and organise online events like cooking together. With more than 400 young people participating, Espoo wants to continue the digital youth work in autumn when the youth centres are open again. You can read more here
‘Sports in park’, Dusseldorf’s free outdoor gym, has started again. After online only courses during the corona confinement, classes are held outside again since last week, applying to safety measures, like keeping physical distance. Passive sport lovers can enjoy the ‘Bundesliga’, Germany’s football premiere league which is running again, yet with empty stadiums. In order to ensure public safety, the city doesn’t allow outdoor TV streaming in certain areas where it could get crowded. You can read more here (in German).
The Greek god Apollo plays by the corona rules. The seven metres high marble statue by Alfred Janniot in Nice is wearing a mask now, tailor-made by the city, after the association of the sculptor allowed the installation.
Since many families and citizens have cancelled travel plans and will most probably spend the summer at home, a new initiative has been presented by the city of Dusseldorf: ‘Summer at home’. Sport, culture and family activities shall form a holiday programme, following the hygiene regulations, presented on a dedicated website. The city has initiated a round table with organisers and is now calling for event offers. You can read more here (in German)
More than €12,000 have been collected so far through a ‘connected race’ in Nice, France. Runners and walkers can choose a distance between 5km and a marathon of 42,195km, run individually and report their results via an app. The fee of €5 per person is donated for medical research to fight COVID-19. The race is open until tomorrow, 24 May. You can read more here (in French)
After having turned down working hours to a minimum during the pandemic, public offices in Dusseldorf are now open again with their usual working hours. In the past weeks, urgently needed documents were delivered via bike couriers. About 4,500 passports and other documents have been brought to the people free of charge that way. You can read more here (in German)
Restaurants of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, are using social distancing rules to become fashion displays for local designers. As of this week, the country has eased the restrictions on bars, cafes and restaurants to allow them to operate indoors, yet strict social distancing remains in place. The indoor restaurant tables that otherwise must be kept empty will therefore be used for mannequins to demonstrate this season’s fashion. You can read more here
Cardiff Council is providing thousands of digital devices and broadband dongles via the Welsh Government’s Education Technology Project Fund to support children in Cardiff that have been unable to access online learning during school closures caused by COVID-19. The Council has worked closely with schools across the city to deliver the scheme which seeks to address the issue of digital deprivation. Over 5000 Chromebook or i-Pad devices repurposed from existing schools or purchased and 2500 broadband dongles will be provided. You can read more here
The municipality of Guimaraes invites artists to propose special creative projects for the corona crisis. The idea is to develop a programme of community work and cultural activities to reconnect creators, public and community. Up to ten projects will be financed with a maximum total amount of €50,000. Applications are welcome until 5 June. You can read more here (in Portuguese)
The citizens of Milan can now get the latest news related to COVID-19 via WhatsApp from the municipality, using a chatbot tool developed with Facebook Italia. It follows a similar model from the WHO and is the first testing in a EU city. The chatbot gives information citizens support services during the emergency, reopening activities, public services and worship places, allowed movements of people, traffic and parking, services for citizens with disabilities, how to contribute to the emergency management, health and sanitary measures and regulations.
The city of Tbilisi, Georgia, has compiled an overview of measures taken in the corona crisis, following the first confirmed case on 26 February: from the disinfection of public places to help for the elderly to support of local businesses. You can download the document here
The Municipality of Guimarães has taken on the charges for the provision of minimum services from the municipal network, with the companies Transurbanos de Guimarães, ARRIVA Portugal and Transdev Norte, considering the need to guarantee the assumption and continuity of an essential public passenger transport service, in the current emergency situation. More information (in Portuguese) here.
Vienna has drawn up a “Guide for the Cultural Industries” in cooperation with medical experts and cultural practitioners. The rules foreseen in the guidelines could already apply in June. However, in order for them to be implemented and for theatres or concert halls to be able to restart, a federal ordinance or amendment to the law is needed.
Guimarães is beginning to implement its deconfinement strategy. In the parks, which reopened last week, in addition to walking and running, the practice of sports activities in a non-competitive context is allowed from 19 May, observing the minimum distance of 2 meters between citizens for activities to be carried out side-by-side, or 4 meters for queued activities and also preventing the sharing of materials and equipment.
Throughout the pandemic, Gdansk has taken a number of measures to ensure that all people had access to information and support, not forgetting the most vulnerable members of society, and, among other things, that children’s education can continue with a minimum of disruption. Please find a partial overview of some of the actions that Gdansk has taken here.
The Innovation Service of the municipality of Palermo, in collaboration with other offices, created a ‘digital toolbox’ at the beginning of March 2020. This online space provides the tools, procedures and information necessary for the new style of working online, including:
national legislation for smart working,
the fast internal communications of the Google Group “Aquile Agili” (“smart eagle”, the eagle is the symbol of the municipality of Palermo),
the procedures for drafting the Deliberation acts compliant with the national law concerning digital agenda (CAD: digital administration code),
the management applications to work remotely at home,
tutorials for using digital signature, to manage video meetings, to draft and share documents with colleagues on Google Drive, and more.
Vienna has taken an approach of cautious exit and inclusive recovery as the country is slowly going back to ‘normal’. The updated overview highlights measures with regard to a smooth and safe running of city services, from childcare and schools to health and social services, support for the local economy and unemployed citizens and much more. It also contains a survey that shows that the city’s crisis management was positively received by the population. You can download the document here.
Madrid’s ‘Applaud Madrid’ plan will augment the city’s cultural budget, which remains uncut, with at further €7.5 million to avoid the closure of cultural spaces and institutions. Theaters will receive €1.9 million, cinemas €1.2 million, live music venues €1.3 million and theater, dance and circus companies €530,000. These grants will cover the costs of supplies and rent from March to September. All future beneficiaries of these grants must commit themselves not to close these spaces for at least one year after the end of the pandemic.
Vilnius has a plan for recovery, the ‘Vilnius’ Plan 4×3’. The plan includes aid measures focused on aids to: individuals, businesses, and culture. The plan also wants to embrace opportunities, and it lists proposals addressed to the national government that will enable local governments to tackle the effects of the crisis. Culture will be a priority for Vilnius, as the plan allocates around 1 million EUR to the sector. Read more here
In Poznan, as part of the ‘Telephone of Digital Tips&Advices’ service, senior citizens receive support to use new technologies. The consultants on duty explain, for example, how to send an e-mail or download photos from a phone. Read more here (in Polish)
The City of Poznan, along with foundations and non-governmental organisations, has started the ‘Seniorro Masks’ campaign, where seniors sew protective masks for seniors. The material is provided together with instructions and patterns. Volunteers work together applying physical distancing and using face protection themselves. Masks are treated before distribution. Read more here (in Polish)
Helsinki offers a free low-threshold service, Mieppi, as a support to people during challenging times. During the crisis the service went online, and nurses and psychologists provided their support via phone or conference calls. Mieppi offers up to five meetings to people from 13 years of age and older. As a low-threshold service, Mieppi believes that early support and aid can help find ways of coping. Talking and being heard achieves the main goal of creating a human connection that will help overcome difficult times. Read more here
Guimarães assumed the charges for the provision of minimum services from the municipal network, with the companies Transurbanos de Guimarães, ARRIVA Portugal and Transdev Norte, considering the need to guarantee the continuity of an essential public passenger transport service in the current emergency situation.
Flexible start times at work and school, to avoid crowded busses and trams. Enhanced possibilities for cycling and walking in the city. Outdoor catering on closed roads for restaurants. – These are some of the proposals of Budapest’s mayor Gergely Karácsony for a gradual reopening of the city. According to him, the easing of the lockdown demands new thinking and deliberate decisions in many fields from both the national government and the municipality. You can download the document here
‘Transparency – so that everything that happens is visible to everyone’: that is the motto of a website from Madrid’s city council, to inform citizens about the council’s decisions and actions. A special section now gives access to information related to the city’s measures on COVID19 and data on the pandemic, also informing about public funds and citizen collaboration in the health crisis. You can visit the Spanish page here
The city council of Madrid is working on conditions to reopen the 5,323 terraces in the Spanish capital as soon as phase 1 of the de-escalation of the corona lockdown allows it. The aim is to make regulations more flexible and to harmonise the interests of hoteliers, shopkeepers and neighbours. The Hotel and Catering Terraces Committee has proposed a set of criteria that will enable the authorised areas to be extended, meeting a triple objective: not eroding the interests of other sectors, not interfering with the movement of pedestrians and at the same time complying with the regulations on universal accessibility. You can read more here (in Spanish)
The city council of Bilbao has approved an action plan worth €15 million, to address the urgent needs resulting from the corona pandemic. More than 50 measures, agreed upon by all political parties, deal with economy and employment, social cohesion and culture. The focus is on people and companies, especially small local businesses, hotels and restaurants, tourism and the cultural and creative sector. You can download an English briefing of the plan here and read more here (in Spanish)
The Palazzi dei Rolli in Genova, part of the UNESCO World Heritage, are open for virtual visits. During the Rolli Days Digital Week, from 16-23 May, the palaces reveal their treasures online. A series of videos presents architecture and arts, some for the first time. You can see the films here
Amsterdam has published a road map for the easing of its restrictions which includes plans for schools, cafés and restaurants to reopen in the next month and longer term plans for things like gyms and health spas. Meanwhile the city is already enacting a host of other measures to limit the spread such as the creation of a €50 million emergency fund. Read more here
Over 2,500 Small businesses in Nice have benefited from support for rent payments via a scheme of the metropole Nice Côte d’Azur. This measure has just been extended to the tourist accommodation and culture sectors. Read more here
Stuttgart is working on its exit and recovery from lockdown in close step with other German cities through a dedicated forum within the Association of German Cities (Deutscher Städtetag). Through this forum, the city is sharing information such as legal documents and relevant links to updates on the situation in Germany. Read more here
Nantes is encouraging citizens to archive their experience of lockdown to preserve its value for future researchers. This includes photos, texts, drawings and more. The Nantes Archives are launching a collection from the inhabitants in order to preserve the memory of the health crisis linked to the coronavirus and to set up a memorable collection of private archives whose preservation and access for researchers will be guaranteed by the community. In the longer term, the city will reflect on how to show this major collection. More information (in French) here.
When restaurant in Vienna opened on 15 May, the Vienna city government decided to support Viennese gastronomy with vouchers of €25 and €50 for food and non-alcoholic beverages for every household. In total, Vienna provided €40 million for this campaign. The campaign runs from June to September. 950,000 Viennese households will receive a voucher by mail, which they can redeem at a participating cafés and restaurants. One-person households will receive a €25 voucher, households with more people a voucher worth €50. More information (in German) here.
Bordeaux is launching two participatory schemes this week: A consultation, which invites residents to put forward ideas for coming out of the crisis and for improvements to local life, and the creation of a Citizens’ Committee, which met for the first time on Tuesday afternoon, 5 May, by video conference with the Mayor of Bordeaux, Nicolas Florian.
Residents can also express their views on the platform debats.bordeaux.fr by putting forward suggestions on five themes: Health, schools, food, mobility and local economy. These contributions are accessible to all and can be voted and/or commented on, prioritised and put forward for wider discussion. They will be catalogued and analysed by the city’s elected representatives and administrative officers, to support decision-making in respect of lifting the lockdown.
Murcia has seen a large increase in the use of the already implemented e-governance processes that started in 2015 and allow for citizens to complete over 209 bureaucratic procedures online (83% of all procedures in 2020 have been completed on-line) and also the citizen engagement and participation tools developed by Murcia City Hall. The following are two tools that Murcia is finding particularly useful during the crisis:
Thanks to private donors (Mars Petcare and Royal Canin), the Municipality of Milan will distribute four tons of free meals for pets, home-delivered by AniCura, the network of clinics for pet healthcare. You can read more here (in Italian)
Guimaraes is reopening food establishments and markets. Terraces will reclaim the public space and establishments that have the licences for terraces will be exempted from paying fees on them. The city will distribute protective equipment to these establishments. More info here (in Spanish)
As Milan gets ready for the first acceleration of phase two of the lockdown, the city implements the Milan2020 plan for a new, more sustainable city: 3,500 new electric scooters will join the existent 2,250 urban fleet. Five new companies have been authorised to operate in the city for the sharing of electric micro-mobility vehicles, as an alternative for post-lockdown travel: EM Transit, Ride Hive Operations, LMTS Italy, Govolt and Bird Rides Italy, in addition to the companies already present, Wind Mobility, Bit Mobility and Helbiz Italia. You can read more here (in Italian)
Milan moves its first steps towards a new normality with the opening of all its retail activities, as regional governments will be allowed to reopen bars, restaurants, hairdressers, barbers and beauty parlours from 18 May. On top of the sanitary measures imposed by the regional government, the city implemented ad hoc protocols for the reopening of street food markets: temperature check, 2.5 meter distance from one vendor to the other, limited number of people, sign corridors and restriction to one person per family. You can read more here (in Italian)
With around half the usual circulation of traffic on its roads, Vilnius’ bars and cafés are being encouraged to take advantage of all public spaces to set up tables free of charge, while respcting physical distancing rules. Read more here
A campaign based on the system of ‘askida fatura’ or ‘suspended bill’ has raised over €2 million, which is enough to help more than 124,500 households pay their water and gas bills. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality matches people who cannot afford to pay their bills with those willing to cover the cost of these bills out of an act of solidarity in difficult times. Read more here
The City of terrassa has rearranged parts of its mobility infrastructure, to create more space for people to move around, as well as for other, greener, forms of transport. This includes an emergency bus, taxi and bike lane. Read more here
A range of digital resources are available from Cardiff Hubs & Libraries Service for people to enjoy at home during the corona lockdown. The service has free e-books, e-audio books, e-magazines, e-newspapers and ancestry resources that library members can access from their own devices. Cardiff residents who aren’t currently members can also join up online. You can read more here
“As many of us have spent several weeks at home, it cannot have escaped us how fundamental culture is to us”, states the city of Lublin, Poland, on its website. “Whether watching a film, listening to music, enjoying an online museum tour or simply reading a book, culture matters so much to our everyday lives.” Lublin had to cancel or postpone many cultural events due the corona pandemic, other offerings went online. You can get an overview here
Extending pavements into the road, creating temporary cycleways, removing street furniture, carrying out a speed awareness campaign and re-designing public space around neighbourhood shopping centres: just some of the ideas being put forward by Cardiff Council as part of the COVID-19 response. With lockdown restrictions expected to be eased next week, a number of pilot schemes have been designed to keep the public safe and able to physically distance in public spaces. You can read more here
Dusseldorf’s mayor Thomas Geisel is hosting a weekly talkshow, ‘Corona Talks’, where he discusses the local impact of the pandemic with guests and answers questions from citizens. The videos are available on the city’s YouTube channel
Old people living in nursing homes in Guimaraes, Portugal, can receive visitors again from next week, following the lockdown due the corona pandemic. The municipality is providing masks and other protective material and has established special regulation. In a first stage, each resident should have only one visitor, once a week, and the visits must not exceed 90 minutes. You can read more here (in Portuguese)
While parks and hiking trails in and around Budapest are open again after the corona confinement, the city wants to avoid the popular destinations getting too crowded. A new online map is promoting lesser known green spots where people can walk or play sports. You can find the map and read more here
Step by step, and with special regulation, museums and other cultural institutions in Dusseldorf, Germany, are opening again after the corona lockdown. The number of visitors is limited and hygiene measures have to be obtained. It is recommended to wear a mask. You can read more here (in German) about the institutions already open and here about the next ones to follow. Also the municipal music school, which went to online lessons during the lockdown, opened its doors again. And the department of culture, in cooperation with local artists, has handed out 600 ‘Art Bags’ with materials and instructions for making crafts and arts to kindergartens and refugee homes.
A serenade from home: that ist what Beşiktaş Municipality’s Children’s Choir made their gift for this year’s Mother’s Day on second Sunday of May. The children sang at home in a video for all people who could not be with their mothers due to the corona curfew on weekends.
During the corona containment period, the communal centre for social action (CCAS) in Angers has been offering a home shopping service to help the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly or those with low incomes. The service is available for every household in need once or twice a week, and is carried out not only by social workers but also by traffic wardens. You can read more here (in French)
People in Izmir who cannot pay their water bills due to economic problems resulting from the corona crisis can get help by others who anonymously pay for them. Following the example of Istanbul and Ankara, the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality has implemented the system of ‘askida fatura’, ‘suspended bill’. That is the name of a Turkish tradition, practiced in bakeries: a customer buys one loaf of bread but pays for two, so someone in need can come in and eat later. Now this principle is used for water bills, via ‘BizIzmir’, the digital platform for municipal services.
Under the ‘Pacte per Barcelona’, the Spanish city has gathered more than 200 organisations to fight the impact of the corona pandemic. This and more is described in an updated version of Barcelona’s ‘Lessons learned’. You can download the document here
With the help of artificial intelligence, the people of Nice can check whether they have symptoms of COVID19 and get advice on the phone. The city has launched the vocal assistant ‘AlloCOVID’, developed by the startup Allo-Média in collaboration with INSERM researchers. Based on a series of questions, a robot tries to understand if the caller presents symptoms of COVID19, and thus orient them. Available seven days a week and 24 hours a day, the system can manage up to 1,000 simultaneous calls. You can read more here
Ahead of Europe Day on 9 May, the city of Muenster, Germany, handed out 5,000 free face masks with the design of the European flag. As part of the gradual easing of corona related restrictions, the masks are to symbolise the solidarity and protection of all Europeans. Markus Lewe, Lord Mayor of Muenster, personally took part in the campaign, as you can see in the video.
Cycling is on the rise in Budapest dutring the corona pandemic. Measurements show a significant increase of bicycle use in the city, as a healthy and affordable way of moving. The city had created new temporary bike lanes and wants to preserve this change after corona. You can read more here
How to get the dose of culture you need to live during the corona lockdown? The city of Pau is offering ‘cultural survival kits’ online, with new programmes every week: resources to cultivate, entertain and think of something else while fighting the coronavirus. You can find the first four editions here, here, here and here (in French)
Reopening schools with small groups of pupils, making face masks mandatory in the metro and devoting roads to biking, to prevent an intensive surge in car use – these are some of the steps out of the corona lockdown in Paris. The city has compiled a summary of measures. You can download the document here
The Municipality of Haarlem stimulates corona initiatives of the citizens and entrepreneurs by compiling all the information in the same website. Thus, citizens can find projects related to any topic in the same site, from culture to shooping. Visit its website here
The municipal markets will start to sell vouchers to give the consumers the opportunity to support the action made by district associations to provide food to those in need. The Economy, Innovation and Employment Area has doubled the amount of subsidies for the expansion of municipal markets, as well as their digitalization, which has been fundamental in recent months and has allowed them to meet the demand of the people of Madrid from their homes, increasing market sales in this sense by more than 400%. Read more here (in Spanish)
Budapest’s chimney sweepers are carrying out social duties since the suspension of chimney checks due to the pandemic. Chimney sweepers are delivering food and medicine for vulnerable and elderly residents. More information here.
Guimarães municipality has given exemptions to businesses from fees for the occupation of public space until the end of 2020 and increased areas for the installation of terraces. This is intended to minimize the impact of reducing the capacity of establishments to protect customers from COVID-19. More information (in Portuguese) here.
In order to secure the movements of people who use the metro for their essential journeys, and in particular for the medical staff, access to the metro will require a validation of a transport ticket. The metro will regain its access control through the validation of subscriptions and tickets, which will be downloaded free of charge in the case of subscriptions or reimbursed after use for other tickets. These tickets will be fully refunded at the end of the lockdown period.
The Nice Côte d´Azur Metropolis has developed new digital crisis management tools from which Microsoft will draw inspiration to help other communities for free. In order to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic and the dissemination of masks to the entire population, the Nice has developed digital logistics management tools. Microsoft has praised the quality of work of the engineers of the Metropolis and will use it as inspiration to provide services to other French communities.
Budapest has increased the capacity of its social institutions by creating further space for 500 people. However, further development is needed to meet self-isolation and social distancing requirements. Therefore, one of the wings of the City Hall building – later to be used as the Budapest Gallery – is being renovated to serve as a temporary shelter for the homeless who would like to voluntarily enter into quarantine. More information here.
The programme ‘Frankfurt am Start’ (Frankfurt Ready) of the Frankfurt Economic Development GmbH supports the local business in Frankfurt’s city districts. A website gives useful tips on how local business and restaurants in the respective city districts can be supported. Among other things, citizens can find local business who sell / produce protective face masks. You can view the website (in German) here.