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Island open for business as it moves into phase 4

News | Published:

HUNDREDS of local businesses are allowed to reopen from today, but with significant restrictions which will change the way islanders shop, work, socialise and relax for the foreseeable future.

President of Health & Social Care Heidi Soulsby and Dr Nicola Brink. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28318106)

In the biggest easing of the lockdown since it was introduced in late March; businesses such as restaurants, cafes, pubs serving food, and hairdressers are allowed to reopen, but they must keep customer records if they want to operate reduced one-metre social distancing requirements.

Non-essential travel is also permitted from today, and the authorities have warned of zero tolerance against anyone flouting the legal requirement to self-isolate on arrival for 14 days.

It is now an arrestable offence to breach this rule, and travellers who do so will be liable for a maximum penalty of £10,000.

New terminology has been introduced as part of phase four of the island’s exit from lockdown – businesses are now defined as either ‘controlled’ or ‘uncontrolled’, and the distinction is based on the ability to trace contacts.

The golden rule of two metres social distancing can be reduced to one metre if a business, such as a beautician, can keep a register with the details of customers.

The latest business guidance was issued late Thursday night and bosses have been preparing how to open in this new era of social distancing.

From tonight pubs that sell food can reopen, and pubs without food can reopen from Monday.

Pubs and restaurants will have limited capacity, service and hours, with last calls before 10.30pm.

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Punters must sit at a table, they are not allowed to order from the bar, and mingling with other tables will be curbed.

Shops are considered ‘uncontrolled’ and owners have been encouraged to follow the example set by supermarkets, with queues outside, cashless payments where possible, rigorous cleaning and hand sanitiser for staff and customers.

Another major announcement from yesterday’s media briefing was that the policing of the 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving in the Bailiwick is being stepped up.

New legislation means it is now an arrestable offence with big fines and more staff have been employed to carry out home visits.

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Everyone arriving at the airport or harbour will be met by Border Agency staff and they will be video-taped receiving an explanation of the law.

Head of Law Enforcement Ruari Hardy was unequivocal that the 14-day isolation had to be complied with.

‘There will be zero tolerance taken. This is there to provide the public reassurance that law enforcement have the powers we need to keep our community safe.’

To coincide with the start of non-essential travel, passengers flying into Guernsey will be given face masks to wear on board the plane.

Visiting is now allowed at care homes, but only one visitor per resident is permitted for up to one hour, and visitors will have their temperature taken before they are allowed in.

The continuous refrain at the press conference was that lockdown is not over, and if today’s significant shift causes a surge in cases, the brakes will go on.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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