Today, we are introducing only a small set of changes to allow islanders and businesses some increased freedoms which means, as of midnight tonight, we begin to enter Level 1 of our Safe Exit Framework.
To get to this point we have had to pause to ensure the additional benefits of entering the next phase do not upset the balance of risk.
In other words, we are taking a more cautious approach at this stage than originally planned to maintain and protect our current position whilst we continue to move forward.
So, from tomorrow, working from home will no longer be the recommended default option for businesses, owing to the current low level of risk.
I would however remind employers that physical distancing rules still apply and recognise that many businesses may therefore wish to continue to encourage staff to work from home, to provide additional flexibility, wherever that is achievable.
In addition, all close personal contact services and treatments are also now permitted – that includes close work on or around the face, where hygiene and sanitising guidelines are strictly followed.
In Level 1, we will be allowing up to 80 people to attend funeral services, where physical distancing can be observed, but wakes and other family events remain limited to 40 attendees.
Advice is being sought for increasing the numbers who can attend larger private and public events, and this will be discussed by Ministers before the end of this month and we undertake to work closely with the events industry throughout this period.
For many, but not all, behaviour and compliance with the guidelines has been exemplary and has led to the limited number of active cases of COVID-19 we have in Jersey. Of the eight active cases of COVID-19 we have, only two are symptomatic - and they are at home. No one is in the hospital.
But I also want to be very clear that this does not mean that the threat from Coronavirus has disappeared, especially when we look at the increase in infection in parts of the UK and Europe.
Our medical experts are telling us that the virus is not behaving in the same way that other respiratory diseases do. Internationally there has been a surge in cases, connected with the night-time economy and particularly with younger people going out and socialising as if everything is back to normal which, regrettably, it is not.
In Level 1 our aim is to live safely with the virus, here in Jersey.
Our priority must be to ensure that Islanders and businesses protect themselves, and others, by following the public health guidelines that will keep us all safe while the virus is still spreading around the world.
We believe that it is certainly not in the best interests of our mental health and overall wellbeing to close ourselves off to the outside world but we must keep our guard up to make sure we can continue to enjoy the freedoms and benefits we have worked so hard to achieve.
The key measures going forward will be:
- We will be significantly stepping up the enforcement of the public health guidelines and asking businesses and islanders to adhere to them
- We will also be stepping the government’s communications to make it absolutely clear what islanders and businesses need to do to keep each other safe.
It is an important reminder that we all have individual and collective responsibility to keep our community safe from the spread of COVID-19.
That responsibility also lies with us in Government too.
We will be writing to every relevant business in the island reminding them to comply with the essential measures by recording customers’ contact details, ensuring physical distancing and making sure they only offer seated table service.
From today, with the support of our Health and Safety Inspectorate, we will begin random visits to ensure, and enforce if necessary, that businesses are complying with these requirements.
Full details of all the changes being made today, along with the updated public health guidelines, can be found on the Government of Jersey website.
We are in a good place, as an Island and as a community and we want to protect and maintain that position.
We have been able to return personal freedoms, open our borders, support our economy and return people to work – all in a safe and controlled way.
So please respect the changes that are being made today and continue to carefully follow the public health advice.
Government of Jersey News Release.