03 April 2020
I wanted to give you an update as we come to the end of our first week of stay at home restrictions.
Today, I met with Ministers and senior officials responsible for our coronavirus strategy, for an update on our healthcare preparations, the work of the community taskforce, and the financial support we are offering to individuals and businesses.
I’ve also answered questions from the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel on our preparations, and you will be able to watch that session on the States Assembly website.
As of today, we have had 118 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Jersey, 992 negative results and we are awaiting the results of 232 tests.
To improve transparency, we’ve also published an online chart showing our position on the infection curve, and the impact of social distancing.
Data on our testing, the number of cases, and our position on the curve can be found at gov.je/coronavirus.
Making the most of Home Time
As Islanders are settling in to the daily routine of working, studying and relaxing at home, we want to help as much as possible.
So, we’ve launched the HomeTime campaign, which is aimed at helping Islanders make the best use of their time, during the stay home restrictions.
We’ve set up a Facebook community to allow for two-way conversation – so you can share your tips and ideas – and we will have a series of themed weeks.
The focus next week is on wellbeing, and ensuring that we all keep a healthy mind and body during our time at home.
Mind Jersey Chairman, James Le Feuvre, will be helping to set the scene, and explaining how important it is that you protect your mental health by keeping a structure, setting goals, and staying in touch with friends and family.
We’ll be providing information on where to get advice and support on mental health, from organisations like Mind Jersey, the Listening Lounge and the YES youth service, should you need to access it.
And we’ll also be posting a series of home workouts provided by local Personal Trainers and coaches; how you can join Race Nation’s virtual event series called Keep your Distance, compete for medals and raise funds for charity.
And some tips on how to work more effectively in your new home office space from Digital Jersey.
Durrell have also launched their Stay Home Gorillas.
This is a Stay Home edition of the much-loved gorilla sculpture trail from 2019.
All you have to do is create your own gorilla design, using the template which you can download from the Durrell website, and display it in your window.
I would love for our essential and emergency workers - who have to travel during this time - to see as many of these colourful gorillas as possible, displayed in Island windows.
So please encourage your children to colour and decorate their gorillas – and post them online with the hashtag stayhomegorillas, so we can all enjoy them.
The Société Jersiaise Photographic Archive are also asking Islanders to document their daily lives during the restrictions, so that future generations can understand how self-isolation felt, what social-distancing looks like, and how our community has come together to get through this difficult time.
Now, it’s the time of year when we would all normally really appreciate the arrival of warm weather.
The forecast for this weekend looks like it will bring sunshine.
But it will also bring the first real test of our resolve to stay home.
We must all stay away from each other to stop spreading the virus, and that means you should not be meeting friends unless you are in the same household.
Instead, you should keep in touch using the phone, video calls or social media apps.
This also means no group gatherings, and includes BBQs on the beach or in your gardens with people outside your household.
You should not be visiting family members who do not live in your home.
Where your relatives are elderly or vulnerable, you can leave your house to help them, for example by dropping shopping or medication at their door.
Young people do need to follow social distancing. They should not be meeting up with groups of friends, and should not be visiting boyfriends or girlfriends in their homes.
I know this will mean some very difficult and often stressful conversations, I am a father too – and I sympathise with all parents who are having to explain how the restrictions are essential to save lives.
You can still take a stroll, walk the dog or enjoy exercise in the sunshine.
But this must only be for an absolute maximum of 2 hours per day and always while observing social distancing of at least 2 metres from others.
Gatherings of more than 2 people in public places should not take place, except where all members are from the same household.
I know some Islanders are concerned about the availability and cost of parking during this time, and I’ve received questions about this.
To be clear there are now no time restrictions or charges for using Government-run parking – that includes multi-storey car parks, laybys and on-street spaces.
The only exceptions are that Patriotic Street Car Park is for the use of health workers only, and parking on Gloucester Street is for emergency health parking only.
I’ve been hugely impressed by the cooperation from Islanders we’ve seen this last week, and this is reflected in the positive feedback I’ve had from our Chief of Police, Robin Smith.
But we cannot become complacent and we will be monitoring the situation very closely over the weekend.
You will see more Police on the streets and in public spaces, including beach kiosks, from tomorrow morning.
They will be following the four E process:
Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce
The Chief of Police has made clear that the Police can’t and don’t want to enforce their way through the stay at home restrictions.
However, if they see circumstances where the public are gathering in groups, they will take appropriate steps.
It is in everyone’s interest to act responsibly.
If, for example, you are at a kiosk during your 2 hours, please don’t bunch up others. Watch what you, and others, are doing in the queue.
Please just collect your food and leave the area promptly.
If people do not do this, then we are likely to have to put in place further restrictions.
It is about us all showing respect and consideration for one another, as a community.
If we don’t work together, then more lives WILL be lost.
If we do work together, respect one another, and act responsibly, lives will be saved.
I look forward to speaking to you again next week, and providing more updates on our work to manage the impact of coronavirus.
Thank you for listening, and I hope you have an enjoyable, and above all safe, weekend.