At present, a large part of the stores and restaurants of Gavà (Barcelona) remain locked since mid-March. The owners of the establishments do not know when they will be able to reopen their businesses. Their situation is complex since, on the one hand, they do not receive any income due to their inactivity and, at the same time, even if they cannot open their business, they still have to pay most of the fixed monthly costs (rent or mortgage, salaries, etc.).
Trade and catering do not only provide jobs; they are also fundamental elements that encourage relationships within towns and villages; they are a source of social cohesion. That is why, in view of the uncertainty situation and difficulties in the city's commercial fabric, the Gavà City Council has decided to invest resources to promote an initiative to support and collaborate with the losses caused to businesses during the quarantine.
The Gavà City Council has developed a free online platform for solidarity purposes where all kind of shops and restaurants, located within the municipality, have the opportunity to offer discount vouchers to their customers. These vouchers can be exchanged once the quarantine ends and the businesses are able to reopen. In this way, businesses can benefit from being able to receive cash while they are closed, and thus, be able to pay the monthly costs already mentioned. Meanwhile, customers get incentives in the form of discounts to buy, and thus pay now what they will consume when this situation ends. Similar initiatives are being deployed in various territories in the private sphere, but we emphasize that, in this case, it has been driven by a local administration.
The goal of this initiative is to create a tool that helps to activate the trade in Gavà in terms of solidarity, relevance and community of the citizens towards the businesses of the municipality. This tool will not only serve to advance liquidity to the shops while they remain closed, at once, shops will have the opportunity to promote their business on the Internet.
The Department of Economic Strategy, Employment and Promotion of the Gavà City Council, with the support of other departments and external experts, has developed a new website: Més que mai comerç de Gavà. The workers of this public entity, that are teleworking, have dedicated many hours to plan and develop this initiative (legal texts, contacting with traders and caterers, creation of databases, creation of accounts in social networks, etc.). This process has taken approximately 2 weeks. Finally, the website has been published on April 20th. The resources invested to create, promote and maintain this platform have been invested and managed by the Gavà City Council. Now, the traders and caterers of the municipality can register for free on the website and offer deals to all users who visit the website. The process is simple. First, the user enters the official website, looks for a deal, and finally makes the purchase through PayPal. During this process, the City Council has no contact with the transactions made, but it has set up a specific e-mail in order to help users and merchants resolve any doubts.
This measure to support the commerce is complemented with a series of measures promoted by the Gavà City Council. Some examples:
New fiscal calendar: extension of the deadline for the payment of taxes and obligations.
Aid for local economic activity: suspension of fees for the use of public spaces, waste collection, weekly market and municipal administrative concessions for those businesses that have had to stop the activity during the state of alarm. Creation of the Gavà Business Support Fund: with a fund of 300.000 euros, subsidies will be provided to the most affected businesses by the current situation.
The evaluation of the platform will be performed through the feedback received from the establishments. In addition, in order to evaluate the success of this initiative, it will be essential to consider several indicators: total number of deals sold (130*), number of establishments registered on the platform (47*), number of visits to the website (8.280*), number of users on the website (2.881*), total number of users on the website's social networks (987*), and finally, number of calls made to merchants/caterers in order to provide information (215*).
*last results registered (May 8th)