I don't think about my leadership, I do my duty like cashiers
The Mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, was one of the first to say that it was necessary to stay home due to the coronavirus and, in the midst of the crisis, he reiterated this message, while noting that he does not think about his leadership but about fulfill their duty, like "the cashiers of the supermarkets" or "the employees of our funeral parlor".
Martínez-Almeida (Madrid, 1975) attends the Efe Agency by telephone, shortly after the state of alarm comes into force, an exceptional situation in trying to contain the advance of the coronavirus and that he is living "especially at home" , because it solves many questions with a call.
He ensures that the city of Madrid is prepared to face a closure if necessary, denies that his management of this crisis has made him a loose verse of the PP and also that he thinks of his own leadership, since he defends that what he does is comply with your duty.
Martínez-Almeida says that she is very encouraged "seeing the response that people are having" and she does not have any symptoms of coronavirus. Last Saturday he joined the collective applause of thanks to health professionals from the Integrated Center for Security and Emergencies of the Madrid City Council and encouraged to support this gesture every day.
- What message do you convey to the people of Madrid who are at home today?
Let them stay home. We do not know when this crisis will be resolved, when it will end, what we do know is when depends on us.
-What can we expect in the coming days?
Unfortunately, the forecasts that pointed to a significant rebound in the contagion curve are being fulfilled and, in principle, this is the trend that will continue throughout the next few days. What we hope is that the containment measures that were adopted throughout the past week will have or begin to take effect.
- Does the state of alarm throughout the State make the closure of Madrid unnecessary?
At this time, I cannot rule out any scenario. If it were to be adopted, I insist: that it be adopted. We have to be prepared. I am confident that the measures taken are sufficient, that they do not have to be more burdensome, if they have to be.
- Do you think that the decisions of the Government of Pedro Sánchez have been in tow of the epidemic? Should the times have been different?
We will have to judge that once we finish this. At this moment our work from the administrations is to work together, side by side and to tell the citizens, to whom we have asked for so many sacrifices, that we are working 'full time' with them and for them.
Sending a message right now that one could have done more or could have done less does not lead us anywhere because we don't have a minute to lose.
Now, afterwards, it will be necessary to do the exam and demand political responsibilities for the decisions made or the decisions not made, but later.
- While Pablo Casado criticizes Sánchez, you talk about working together and postponing the request for responsibilities, has the coronavirus crisis turned you into a loose verse within the PP?
No, not much less, not much less. There is nobody in the PP that on Saturday did not come out to support the measures of the Prime Minister and that of course includes the PP president. I followed his intervention and it seemed to me a state intervention, of total and absolute support for the measures that have been taken.
But I also say one thing: if there are things to improve, it must also be said. Always in a constructive and positive tone, we must say things that can be improved and I think that is what Pablo Casado did.
- The networks are followed by praise for their management of the crisis. Have you thought about whether your leadership will be strengthened?
I do not honestly think about my leadership, the only thing I think about is the duty and responsibility that I have at the moment as mayor of this city. There are 3.3 million inhabitants, the majority of whom are in their homes, who are in a situation of uncertainty. We must convey to them that they can trust the Madrid City Council and our public services.
I am doing my duty, I insist, as the supermarket cashiers are doing, as the employees of our funeral home are doing in a very difficult situation, as the EMT drivers or as the great health or emergency professionals and the Municipal police.
If we each do our duty, we will leave.
- What is your economic recipe to face the impact of the virus?
Take action now, basic premise. The economic emergency is not going to come later, the economic emergency is already here. Measures must be taken now and they must be linked to an essential purpose: maintaining employment in Spain.
There must be a different tax treatment that allows companies to get out of the economic drowning: tax deferrals, also lines of guarantees. Measures that allow economic activity to resume as soon as possible without this entailing a reduction in employment.
- What will you do so that the jobs that depend on municipal contracts are not lost?
We're on that. It is a question that has been put to us by the municipal groups and Engracia Hidalgo (councilor for the Treasury) is preparing a document where we are going to explain the different options.
Apart from that, let it be clear that the purpose of this City Council is that there is no loss of employment as a result of any decision we have taken.
- How are you going to protect the most vulnerable population?
Specific devices are being created for the homeless, especially for those who, despite having shelters, do not attend. It is being seen through the Social Samur how we can make them sleep in shelters because there is also an obvious risk of contagion.
In relation to people in day centers or the elderly in a vulnerable situation, at this moment all the requests that are coming to the District Boards are being met. All budgetary and recruitment efforts will be made to avoid problems.
At the same time, a request that I make and that I reiterate: for all these professionals who are on the front line taking risks, we urgently need material, means to prevent contagion. I make an urgent appeal.
- More Madrid has proposed avoiding supply cuts.
It does not depend on the City Council, but we have a very symbolic responsibility and leadership. We are going to do whatever is necessary with the companies so that it cannot be produced. It does not make any sense that at the moment and with the situation we are experiencing, power cuts of any kind can occur.
- The Police are sending those they see on the street to their homes. How are they doing it?
It is using all means, drones of course, but there will also be a constant physical presence at the foot of the street of Municipal Police patrols to prevent any displacement that is not covered by the alarm decree.
Here I want to be firm and forceful: there will be no half measures, anyone who is not justified in the displacement will be sent to the police by the police and will initiate a disciplinary proceeding.
This goes from everyone to everyone and it cannot be that no one wants to unmark.
- How do you imagine the day after this confinement?
With the pride of a society that has once again passed one of the most difficult tests, if not the most difficult. We will say that we overcome it together. We can proudly look back, honor all the heroes, honor all those who have unfortunately left us, and continue to feel that we can be deeply proud.