Comedor Tardor, Palma. | M. À. Cañellas

Thousands of people who worked in the black economy have emerged from the shadows in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and are desperate for help.

A year long study has been launched by UIB researchers, Fernanda Caro, María Gómez and Joana Maria Mestre, from Inequalities, Gender and Public Policies to analyse the impact of Covid-19 on Social Services.

The first published report reveals that because of the delay in collecting ERTEs, many City Councils nationwide had exhausted their annual budget for social emergencies by March or April.

It also states that Municipal Social Services centres had to reorganise care both through teleworking and in person for emergency cases.

Healthcare Professionals who were interviewed for the study said they were satisfied with the tasks performed, but criticised the lack of resources and excessive workload they were subjected to.

"They began to work without guarantees and because of the improvisation in health centres, normal working hours were exceeded,” said one contributor.

Many Healthcare Professionals suffered from stress, anxiety and emotional restraint when they were dealing with people affected by the health, economic and social crisis.

"There are days when we have 200 calls from people who don’t even know about Social Services," said one study participant.

Dependency is another area that’s been badly affected by the pandemic, according to one Social Worker.

"Dependency assessments stopped in March and I don't know when they will be resumed,” which will have a knock on effect for thousands of families.

The UIB report contributors said that despite the difficulties, there was a sense of having been able to respond to the demands they received.

"For me this period has been a challenge and an opportunity," said one social worker.

The report concludes that the difficulties and daily social demands experienced by families, coupled with the pandemic, overloaded an already saturated system and made it harder to conduct face-to-face interviews or home visits, which directly affected gender violence interventions and the monitoring of children at risk.