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Chief Minister's statement on COVID-19 - 29 June 2020

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Good afternoon,

I am very happy to be with you today following the first weekend for some time where we were not under emergency powers. There is indeed cause for celebration and more importantly time to breathe and reflect.

Our stepped approach has meant we have eased restrictions one level at a time based on the key indicators of risk.

The decision to invoke these powers was a significant step.

We were entering an unprecedented period in the Island’s history which required the Government to mitigate a serious threat to the health of our population.

Protecting the vulnerable in our community was our highest priority and the emergency powers enabled us to do so swiftly.

Before I cover this in more detail I would like to invite

the Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, Dr Allinson to take you through today’s numbers and to update you on the cinema, swimming pools, schools and safeguarding app.

We were in this state of emergency for a little over one hundred days.

The introduction of additional powers provided Government with greater flexibility during this time of extraordinary disruption and threat to health.

On Friday, I invited His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor to revoke the proclamation of emergency. I was greatly relieved to do so.

I have been looking forward to the day when it was safe to deliver on our promise to step out of your lives. I am pleased that we have been able to do this. 

The state of emergency may be no more. But we cannot be complacent about the risks that remain. I hope, as I’m sure we all do, that we have weathered the worst of this pandemic.

This is not a Government that chose to micromanage people’s lives. No one wanted to prevent you from seeing loved ones.  No one wanted to prevent you from making your own choices.

Now you are responsible for your own choices.

As I moved around this weekend life does appear relatively normal. We are in an enviable position.

It was of course, inevitable that the virus would arrive on our shores earlier this year.

The question then was, when? And the question now is will it make a second appearance?

There remains a risk that it will.

By making responsible choices, we can lessen the risk that any new cases would bring.

We are in a different place now than we were in March.

We have on-Island testing. We have a robust track and trace system. Our community is much more aware of the steps required to reduce risk.

This all means that if we were to get new cases in the near future they would not have the impact the initial cases did back March.

In the event of new cases some restrictions would need to be reinstated but we would hope a full lock down scenario would not be necessary. 

This is very positive in terms of people’s wellbeing, their mental health, relationships and ability to socialise.

It allows businesses large and small to continue to flourish, and for our economy to pick up.

We will have the opportunity to get out and enjoy our summer.

This leads me nicely to our borders.

We will continue monitor the situation here and that of our near neighbours, as we consider how and when increased movement at the border may be allowed.

Our five stage framework for borders will be published this week.

On Thursday we will again look to see if we are ready to make announcements around moving to Level 4. Any changes to our borders will be gradual, careful and well thought out. If the Council of Ministers decide we are again not ready on Thursday then we will review again next week.

We hear all the time that Covid 19 may be around globally, for many months to come.

So if it’s not going to be a Covid-free world, then we must adapt our thinking to a world with Covid in it.

So what I’m saying is there are pros and cons to consider as we look at the steps which lie ahead.

Is the pandemic over? No. The threat from the global pandemic is still real. Our duty to protect our Island community from it is equally real. And it will remain for some time to come.

And finally, from today Island residents will be able to access their usual dental services as they normally would. For further information please see the dental guidance on the Covid website.

During this time we have all had to think differently, act differently and we have had to dig deep. There have been many sacrifices and there may still be more ahead. At times this has taken us to dark and uncomfortable places.

While the horizon, much like today’s weather, may seem cloudy we hope for a bright and positive July.

Thank you.