Some business tunnel travellers visit island to look at properties
VIEWING properties are among successful applications to come to Guernsey under the business tunnel travel scheme amid ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
The scheme allows for business travellers to come to Guernsey on a one-day return and without the requirement to quarantine. Introduced just over two weeks ago, the States of Guernsey’s initiative has received 43 applications – 27 of which have been approved, five rejected or withdrawn, with a further 11 outstanding.
Four of the approved applications have been for people to view properties and five were for building surveyors.
Cooper Brouard’s open market sales director Ross Le Marquand said one of their clients was due to use the initiative to view a property.
‘It’s a very welcome progressive step,’ he said.
‘Although I can’t imagine it is being made use of on such a scale yet, I think as time goes on it will be.’
He said the property market was dealing with a backlog of applicants wanting to view houses at the moment and some will be appreciative of the initiative. However, some will still feel a business tunnel was not an easy way forward.
‘There will be those that find it’s still not user-friendly as there’s a lot of paperwork involved for such a short visit,’ he said.
‘We’re here to help them but some will still want to wait until there are ultimately no restrictions.’
Building surveyor Nigel Chescoe, of Chescoe Chartered Surveyors & Architects, said the use of business tunnels was one way to ensure business stability and recovery.
‘The States have put in a system for business to continue and it seems to be working,’ he said.
‘It’s a great way to maintain business, small businesses especially have been affected and for them this is something worthwhile and they’ve not been inundated with people wanting to use it, which probably helps.
‘Although it’s most likely not foolproof it is, for some, essential and safe as long as the rules are followed.’
He added that other opportunities, such as for essential travel, given by the States to continue his business had been appreciated.
‘We were able to bring over a lift engineer to help with our work for St John Guernsey installing a lift,’ he said.
‘We had to have a specialist over and to do so they had to go through all the protocol, such as risk assessments and testing.
‘Once they came over they were only allowed to travel to their hotel and their place of work all while using PPE [personal protective equipment] – it worked out well, though we still had to pacify some people because, quite understandably, they are worried when someone from the UK is over.’
States guidance on business tunnels sets out the ‘methodology proposed for the property viewing’.
‘This should include measures proposed to reduce the spread of Covid-19 on the premises and measures to enable any negotiations to take place out of doors or in line with the specific guidance for meeting places.’
It also says that the business traveller must conduct their business if that is a property viewing at the property.
‘The business traveller must not enter any place other than the airport and the building where the meeting is held (if somewhere different).’
As well as having to apply for permission, applicants are asked to give at least seven days’ notice before the date of travel.
On arrival, they must maintain social distancing and not shake hands. They must not share pens or phones and they must keep a record of their contacts during the trip for at least 14 days. In addition, they also have to wear a mask.