02 December 2020
Ministers have agreed a set of strict new measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.
A hospitality circuit-breaker will begin on Friday at 00:01am and will require all hospitality venues to close. All shops can remain open, but gyms and indoor sport and fitness classes must close, and the 2-metre distancing law is to be brought back into force, including for retail. The impact of these new measures on the rate of positive Covid cases will be regularly reviewed. However, these measures are likely to remain in place until 4 January 2021.
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “We are seeing more cases in hospital and a continuing growth in the number of positive cases in the community. We have been briefed on the current R-rate, which is between 1.6 and 2.0. This means each case is, on average, passing the infection onto more than one other person. This is too much and we need to introduce more stringent restrictions to protect Islanders.
“If we don’t take this action now, we could be facing more stringent restrictions. However, we anticipate that these actions will, in the next two to three weeks, lead to a reduction in case numbers. This will not happen straight away, as a change in measures takes at least two weeks to make an impact on figures. We must therefore take this action to protect both our population and our healthcare system.”
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: “We have received some sobering advice from our scientific and medical colleagues, and we are convinced that this is the right approach. If these numbers continue to rise, we will need to open the Nightingale Ward.
“I have already made mask-use and contact-tracing a legal requirement, and the permitted size of gatherings has been reduced. Now it’s time to take these restrictions further. This isn’t a lockdown and we won’t be limiting the time people can spend outside their homes, but we are trying to limit the potential for uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 by closing hospitality venues, gyms and indoor exercise classes, and by keeping people further apart in public areas.”
The Safe Distancing in Public Places regulations require everyone to remain 2 metres apart in public places. People will be liable to prosecution if they refuse to move apart when asked to by an enforcement officer. The 2-metre guidelines for shops and cafés will be reintroduced, and there will be alternative arrangements in place for areas like healthcare and schools.
The Gatherings Order will allow gatherings over a certain size to be dispersed by an enforcement officer.
As these new measures will have an impact on livelihoods, more support for affected businesses will be provided under the Co-funded Payroll Scheme Phase 3+.