Coronavirus: Guernsey residents told to 'stay at home'

Image caption,
Social distancing can already be seen at supermarkets across the island

Strict rules governing life in the Bailiwick of Guernsey with the aim of limiting the spread of coronavirus have been announced.

The States wants people to stay at home, to close non-essential shops and community spaces and stop all public gatherings of more than two people.

The measures start from midnight, initially for two weeks, and will be made enforceable by the police.

It follows a case of on-island transmission of the virus in Guernsey.

"The key take away message from this announcement is stay inside," said Gavin St Pier, president of the policy and resources committee.

"I cannot stress this enough - if there really are any sceptics out there, even they, surely, have now grasped the importance of everyone doing what we have been saying - namely, you must follow public health advice."

The measures apply to the whole Bailiwick with Alderney's and Sark's governments mirroring the advice.

Only leave the house for:

  • Shopping for basic necessities - for example food and medicine - as infrequently as possible
  • Up to two hours exercise a day, to include walking, cycling, running or sea swimming or other open sea activities alone or with members of your household. If sea swimming or open sea activities are undertaken they may be undertaken with one other person present, for safety reasons, provided social distancing is maintained and it is understood that such swimming or open sea activities are undertaken at the individual's own risk
  • Any medical need, if instructed to do so by a healthcare worker or required to do so having called 999, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

"These measures introduce the most far reaching deprivation of personal liberties since the Second World War," said Deputy St Pier.

"These are not decisions that we have taken lightly. The impact of these decisions are far reaching but I am absolutely certain that it is the right thing to do to protect our community."

Mr St Pier said due to the "late hour of this direction" it was understood some work would need to be carried out on Wednesday to secure properties and for those whose who were moving house and had a legal obligation to vacate.

He said the States had updated the dedicated section of its website in a bid to answer the "many questions" islanders would have.

Education Provision for the children of Critical Workers will continue during this period with transport provided.

This is planned to continue into the Easter holidays so key public services can continue.

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