The clock is ticking . . .
The clock is ticking down to the moment Bailiwick life returns to near-normal this weekend.
In the very early hours of Saturday 20th June 2020 — one minute past midnight to be precise –– the Bailiwick of Guernsey will move into Phase V of its planned exit from lockdown.
At that point islanders will be able to return to life as usual within a ‘Bailiwick Bubble’ – the main caveat being that anyone returning from outside the Islands will be required to self isolate for 14 days on their return.
In Phase V the requirements for social distancing and the size of gatherings are removed. However the Committee for Health and Social Care is still asking Islanders to maintain some of the good practices they have become used to during the lockdown period. Rather than strict requirements to socially distance 1 or 2 metres, islanders will be urged to respect each other’s personal space. All islanders will also be encouraged to continue with good hygiene practices and to stay at home if they are feeling unwell.
All remaining business that have had to remain closed throughout the lockdown period will be able to open.
Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of HSC, said: “We’re so pleased to finally be able to confirm when we intend to enter phase 5. This will be a real milestone and a recognition of the incredible combined effort of the whole community in responding to the awful pandemic which has devastated countries all over the world. We have pulled together in a way I couldn’t have imagined when this all started, and we’re now able to unlock far sooner than we thought we would.
We’re able to do this because, remarkably, we have no active cases of the virus and it’s more than 40 days since our last new positive case. I realise for some this feels like good enough reason to move to phase 5 now, rather than in a week’s time. But the guidance from Public Health, which has served us incredibly well so far, is clear. Most schools have only been open to all pupils since Monday and we need to see how this goes in terms of any new positive cases of COVID-19 which may appear, even if we have not had any for a while. Businesses also need time to adjust to the changes and law enforcement need notice to ensure they are prepared and can liaise with businesses involved in the night time economy in particular.
This is a big moment and one to celebrate, but my thoughts are also with those who have suffered the most, and those who have made the greatest sacrifices. We cannot forgot that lives have been lost. We cannot forget those who could not be with their loved ones at the end of their lives or who have had to hold funerals without the many friends and family they would want around them to say goodbye properly. Others have cancelled big, once-in-a-lifetime plans such as their wedding. And others have had very personal struggles with mental health resulting from the fear and isolation of this period. We must not forget what this pandemic has cost us.”
Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink said:
“We know the incubation period is in the majority of cases somewhere between 2 and 14 days, and that’s why allowing two weeks from the reopening of schools will give us that added reassurance that we can safely move to phase 5.
Even after we enter phase 5, we cannot drop our guard entirely. Our extended testing programme will continue to test hundreds of samples each day and our contact tracers will be ready to respond 24/7 if and when we see a new positive case. We must be alert that this is a real possibility. We shouldn’t panic when it happens, and we will react quickly to identify and isolate any associated cases. That ‘test, track and isolate’ will remain at the heart of our strategy going forward.”
Deputy Gavin St Pier, Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority said:
“This has been a long, hard road and to have a date in sight for phase 5, a return to normality in so many way, is very moving. I cannot thank Islanders enough, because it’s down to every one of us that we are where we are. The way we have rallied, the togetherness they’ve shown and the support they’ve given us as the decision-makers is humbling.
I know as a community we will come out of this better than before. As we prepare to enter phase 5, all that remains before the move to our final phase is reopening travel. We aren’t setting a date for this, it’s very much dependent on finding the best, safest way to do it without putting our community at risk. We’ll be looking very hard at all the options for this. And as our domestic economy fully reopens, we will be getting on with the job of recovery. This week we kicked that off with the release of the Revive and Thrive Recovery Strategy, a green paper that the States and the community will work together to develop so we can come out of this terrible time even better than before.”