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Rambla Nova in Tarragona, deserted during the spring confinement, Source: Laia Díaz / Ajuntament de Tarragona

Tarragona authorities study the social impact of COVID-19

Tarragona authorities study the social impact of COVID-19

With the help of universities, they want to determine how to target social aid

On 12 January, the Municipal Institute of Social Services of Tarragona presented the results of a study which aimed to quantify the social impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the population of the city. The aim of this scientific approach is to be able to determine how to better direct and even anticipate social subsidies and services to the groups that need them the most.

The surveys were done in partnership with Rovira i Virgili University (URV)

This was only the first wave of such a study, conducted in collaboration with the Social Work and Anthropology Department of URV, with the goal of giving the relevant authorities a clearer picture about the social damages done by the ongoing pandemic.

With this research and based on the background of the 2008 crisis, we thought it necessary to identify the social impact that can occur as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and to adapt the municipal resources available to prevent and reduce that a number of people are placed in processes of social exclusion,”  said Carla Aguilar-Cunill, the Councillor of Social Services.

The results of the surveys revealed that 24.1% of the respondents in the municipality have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and other 13.9% have been temporarily laid-off. In terms of age variations, those over 45 were at higher risk of losing their employment while younger people were more likely to be made redundant for some time.

Furthermore, 25.9% expressed having been severely cut-off from access to leisure activities and 11.5% from access to educational opportunities. In terms of mental health, 35.8% of survey participants report feelings of restlessness and nervous state of being. Negative emotions and difficulties handling the isolation are reported as harder for women, those of lower incomes and lower education.

An important finding of primary concern to the Social Services Department in the city was that whereas less than 10% of residents requested some form of welfare before the pandemic, the survey showed that within the next 6 months almost 22% of respondents stated they will consider this option, representing more than a twofold increase.

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