Two weeks since the initial lockdown measures were introduced, the States of Guernsey has announced that they will continue. The only change to the current restrictions being that non-essential retailers will be permitted to carry out home deliveries, provided this is done in line with guidance to mitigate the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
This change will come into effect from midnight tonight [00.01 Wednesday 8 April].
Non-essential retailers that will be able to carry out home deliveries will not be able to open their premises to customers, sales must be by phone or online, not face-to-face.
Retailers must adhere to social distancing and hygiene guidance and have no more than two employees on their premises.
This change is being made primarily to support islanders through a longer period of lockdown because providing access to a wider range of goods by delivery will be beneficial to the mental health and wellbeing of individuals.
It will also assist them in home-working while allowing some business to be transacted.
Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority Deputy Gavin St Pier said the objective has not changed.
'We must reduce the spread of this infectious disease and make sure our health infrastructure, which includes our frontline nurses, doctors and health and social care workers, are not overwhelmed.
'The best way we can all do that, and help save lives, is by staying at home.'
However, he recognised that people's physical and mental health needed to be looked after, which is why some allowance was made for a wider range of goods to be delivered to islanders as it will give greater choice and more options while islanders stay at home.
'Helping more people to work effectively, at home or in a safe environment, will also have in itself a positive impact on our mental health,' he said.
'We're also conscious of the economic impact ‘lock down’ is having, with some businesses having to furlough or lose staff, or simply close down. If allowing deliveries means that happens even a little less, that is to be welcomed with the support of the Director of Public Health.'
President of Health & Social Care Deputy Heidi Soulsby said dealing with the public health crisis and protecting the lives of islanders is the committee's absolute priority.
'That has meant some tough decisions that have made things very difficult for many businesses, but I’m impressed with how they have supported that objective, and put their community first.'
She said businesses must respect the spirit of the restrictions, including the changes announced today today.
'If we find any businesses aren't taking seriously their responsibility to their employees, their customers and to the Bailiwick, we will impose much tougher measures.'
Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink said the on-island testing capability which is now up and running is a huge step and radically improves the island's ability to gather data and keep track of what is happening in the Bailiwick.
'But while the number of tests we do each day has already increased, and we’re getting results faster, we haven’t had it in place long enough to gather the data that would give me confidence to relax the lockdown restrictions significantly,' she said.
'The clusters we’ve identified in certain care homes in the Island has meant a lot of new testing capacity has been concentrated on these areas. 'We still need more time to get a real sense of what’s happening more widely in the island.
'For now, staying at home is the best way we can stay safe and save lives.'