COVID press briefing 20th April 2020

I made the following statement at the press briefing on 20th April.

Well, since last Friday a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to ensure that we are in a good place come the end of the week when we hope to be able to start easing restrictions. Clearly the latest testing results don’t give us any reason to doubt that we will be able to do so and that is what we are working towards.

The Committee for Health & Social Care will be meeting tomorrow to review draft Directions and Guidance and to be satisfied that any changes we make, whilst allowing more businesses to operate, will represent a low enough risk to the community. On Friday I mentioned that businesses would need to register if they wished to start operating again. Just to make it clear, we are not bringing in a permit system. The onus is on businesses to play ball. Instead, there will be inspections by Environmental Health to ensure that businesses are following guidance. New processes are being put in place to ensure that the registration system is as easy as possible and more information will be provided on that before the changes come in to effect.

Last week I did mention our intention to introduce a whistleblower line as part of Phase 2. Now this is a common term used in government to enable employees to call out concerns in the workplace without fear. However, we have heard from a number of you who don’t think that the term is really in the spirit of GuernseyTogether where we are all seeking to work together against a common challenge.

The difficult line we are trying to walk is asking everyone to continue to adhere to very strict rules that are having a serious impact on the finances of businesses and individuals whilst at the same time being aware that it is human nature for some faced with the consequences to push the boundaries. To date we have found engagement and encouragement has worked to ensure widespread compliance but we need that stick available and enable the community to channel their concerns at a time when we start to ease restrictions.

But we definitely take on board the comments and so intend to call it the GuernseyTogether hotline when it is launched. We welcome feedback in order that we can get things as right as we can before the end of the week. We will not get things right all the time and we really are happy to hear from you as to how we can do better. So, nothing more to add and hopefully next time we have our press conference I will be able to provide more details on what the start of Phase 2 means.

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