27 March 2020
Statement from the Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré
During these unprecedented times, and with the situation on-Island changing rapidly, it is vital that the Government can act quickly and effectively, in order to keep Islanders as safe as possible.
This involves having the necessary legislation in place, granting powers so the States Assembly and ministers can act when the need arises.
Over the past weeks, the States Assembly have approved several new pieces of legislation that have allowed us to ensure the protection of our most vulnerable Islanders and the financial security of Jersey.
Today, we approved four vital pieces of new legislation.
Firstly, the Assembly have agreed changes to ensure that it can approve and quickly implement any emergency legislation related to COVID-19.
That means that any coronavirus-related legislation, even if it’s amending a primary law, won’t need to receive the approval of the Privy Council and Royal Assent.
This is critical because it allows the Assembly and Government to make and implement legal changes when required so we can deal with the pandemic as it develops.
Secondly, the Minister for Education now has specific powers to require the closure of school premises or day care accommodation to prevent the contamination and spread of coronavirus.
And she has powers to ensure that alternative educational provision is made available.
We know this is especially important for a number of critical workers who are essential for keeping our key infrastructure and health services running.
Finally, the Health Minister now has new and temporary powers to impose requirements on people to be screened or assessed for coronavirus, using appropriate enforcement if necessary.
I know that some of these measures are a change to how our lives would normally run. But these are not normal times and we want Islanders to act responsibly and to choose to help our community by following the latest health guidance.
But if they do not, from today the Government have the power to require all people to self-isolate, using reasonable force, if required.
Police officers also now have the power to enforce social distancing, if members of the public are actively refusing to comply.
I would like to reiterate that all these measures will only be used when absolutely necessary to protect Islanders and ensure the smooth running of the Island.
I would encourage all Islanders, in these times when advice is changing rapidly, to continue monitoring our official channels and the Island’s local media, ensuring you have the most up-to-date advice.
In the meantime, I once again ask Islanders to follow Government health advice at all times, so we can work together, as an Island and as a community, to tackle this pandemic and help flatten our curve.