The past year will undoubtedly be on the pages of the recent history of Gdańsk and not only as one of the most difficult in terms of ensuring the smooth functioning of the city and the security of socio-economic life. Local government in the COVID-19 pandemic faced the challenges of carrying out emergency tasks for residents, operating in a state of uncertainty, with limited resources and tools.
The consequences of the pandemic have fully revealed the fundamental role of local government in creating safe living, health, science and working conditions for the local government. Only efficient self-government can guarantee strengthening of participatory processes, social inclusion and democratization of public life, while at the same time providing the basis for effective state governance. This is particularly evident in the global crisis that local communities are facing.
The main activities of the municipality concerned the creation of sanitary conditions to reduce the risk of virus transmission and the implementation of sanitary protocols for the provision of the necessary services to residents. At the same time, the city has met their needs and introduced a number of local measures aimed at supporting residents, counteracting the economic weakness and the decline in living standards caused by the crisis. In total, almost PLN 33.5 million was allocated from the city budget for the implementation of tasks related to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, of which PLN 24.6 million was financed from the City's own resources and PLN 8.8 million from external resources.
NGOs were a key partner in the implementation of measures to prevent the spread and counteract the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. They included:
- Coordination of support tagged #gdanskpomaga. It was aimed to help those who were unable to live or operate due to pandemic, including seniors and other vulnerable groups and institutions. The support provided in kind was primarily personal protective equipment, e.g. gloves and masks – a total of almost 200,000 pieces, but also meals.
- Support for vulnerable groups, i.e. excluded or at risk of exclusion from systemic solutions (including foreigners and people experiencing domestic violence);
- Mitigating the effects of long-term isolation of children and young people and adults with pandemic-induced disabilities, enabling parents and carers to fully return to work after a period of isolation, and allowing children to spend leisure time in safe conditions;
- Conducting integration and support classes for groups at high risk of the consequences of social isolation;
- Support for volunteers (securing public transport tickets and fuel for aid volunteers);
- Economic security (widening the offer of the Centre for Economic Security and Indebted Persons Support)
Also, Gdańsk has launched the Gdańsk Business Support Package – a package of tools to support the local economy. They included tax postponement, reduction of rent in municipal business premises, creation of the Gdańsk Publishing Fund, free online business counselling, etc.