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Chief Minister speech Reconnection Stage 3

12 February 2021

Good afternoon,
I’m joined today by the Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, and the Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham.

Unfortunately, both Dr Muscat and Mr Armstrong are engaged in medical appointments and cannot join us for this Press Conference. They have supported Ministers in reaching the decisions we will announce this afternoon and I want to thank them for their support.

I also want to thank Islanders once again for your continued vigilance, your continued cooperation, and your continued resilience as we manage the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on our community.

By carefully and closely following Public Health guidance over the past three months, you have allowed us to successfully navigate the rise in cases we saw in December, and reach our current good position.

Over 21,000 Islanders have now received their first dose of the COVID vaccine, through residential homes, home visits within the community, and the ongoing work of staff and volunteers at the vaccination centre at Fort Regent. This figure includes the inoculation of 96% of those aged 80 and over with their first dose of the vaccine.

This is a fantastic achievement, and the Minister for Health and Social Services will speak in detail about the next stages of the vaccination programme, and how we will continue to protect those most at risk, as rapidly as we can. 

As of yesterday evening, we have carried out 287,821 PCR tests for COVID-19, as well as thousands of Lateral Flow tests in schools and businesses.
There were 52 active cases in Jersey, and our positivity rate is at 0.5%.

Only three Islanders are currently in hospital with COVID. 

We should be rightly proud of the good position we find ourselves in. It has been hard fought and hard earned by all Islanders.

It now allows us, on the advice of STAC, to safely - and proportionately - accelerate our reconnection process.

By following our stages of reconnecting controlled settings, today we are announcing the reopening of seated food and drink hospitality services from Monday 22nd February.
From that date you can legally meet with up to 10 people for a substantial meal in an Island restaurant or cafe.

I should be absolutely clear, the 10-person limit is just that, a limit. meeting in smaller groups will always be the safer and more responsible way to act. I believe most Islanders will stay COVID-careful and stick with six.

Dining-in will also be subject to strict safety mitigations, which the Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Farnham, will set out in detail.

This step is one I welcome, but it is one that we must all treat with respect.
It will allow us to enjoy those critical social connections that are so important for our wellbeing, but in a careful, controlled, way.

On the advice of STAC, Ministers have also agreed that faith gatherings and ceremonies, including weddings and funerals can increase from 20 to 40 persons from Wednesday 17 February.

This will allow a critical social, spiritual and community activity to return, one that is especially important to many members of our Island community who hold a faith, but in a measured and safe way.

In addition, I’m acutely aware of the desire of many of our local sports teams and athletes to return to practice and competition.

We have received many representations from teams across the Island, and from Jersey Sport, about allowing outdoor activities – and these have been considered by STAC.
So, from Wednesday 17 February, outdoor sporting events for the under-18s will allow groups of up to 35.

And from Monday 8 March this will extend to outdoor sporting activities for those aged 18 and over.

On the advice of STAC, Ministers have also agreed that worship, weddings and funerals can increase from 20 to 40 persons.

This will allow a critical social, spiritual and community activity to return, one that is especially important to many members of our Island community who hold a faith, but in a measured and safe way.

At present all uncontrolled outdoor and indoor gatherings will retain a maximum legal limit of 10 persons. And you should NOT be meeting indoors with those outside your household, unless for care or in extreme circumstances.

None of us, across our Island community, want to risk the good position we’ve found ourselves in.

The changes we are announcing today allow for controlled mixing, in controlled conditions, and with controlled mitigations. Controlled mixing is the safest way for us to meet.

Because of this, we are not making any changes to the restrictions on mixing within homes, at this stage. So please, continue to meet outside, or in the safe environments that will be created by our hospitality industry. But NOT in each other’s homes.

And please bear this in mind closely over the coming Half Term week.

We will very carefully monitor the impact of these relaxations, and I hope very soon to be able to update you on the next steps we will take to return to normal life.
I’ll now ask the Minister for Health and Social Services to address the current healthcare position.

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