COVID press briefing 29th May 2020 – Phase 4 details

This is the statement I made at the press briefing on 29th May, setting out details of Phase 4.

Determining what Phase 4 meant was quite difficult. Considerations over how we dealt with household bubbles, which businesses could open fully or with conditions, and at the same time trying to make things clear and understandable so that what we were asking of people made sense. The days leading up to the announcement were intense but we go there in the end.

Here’s what I said;

Well, we have had no new cases since last week and now have no known active cases in the Bailiwick. As such, we will be moving into Phase 4 as of tomorrow.

Now last week I gave an overview of what phase 4 might look like. Since then, we have had requests for more information and ideas about what we should do and what we shouldn’t. I really would like to thank everyone who has contacted us as this input has helped shaped our understanding. We have always said that our approach has been to do what we believe makes sense for our community. Listening to you means that we can walk the walk not talk the talk.

A lot of work has gone on since we last met, ensuring what we propose is appropriate and proportionate to the situation we find ourselves in. Whilst the news is absolutely fantastic it is only through lifting the restrictions in the way we are doing will we have any idea whether there are any cases still out there. If there are and we don’t maintain key controls such as social distancing and hygiene guidance, we may find ourselves in a difficult position again. At the same time, we appreciate that, if certain businesses are to be able to open and activities take place, compromises may need to be made. It is all about taking a risk-based approach.

Throughout this we have listened to Dr Brink and her team, understanding what is an acceptable risk and isn’t, and from that worked out how we could get the balance right. As I’ve said before, there is no right or wrong answer, but hopefully we have managed to do that.

So I will now give an overview of what Phase 4 will mean and add meat on the bones of what I said last week and try to answer some of the questions that have been asked since then.

I will start by talking about travel. I stated last week that non-essential travel will be permitted subject to anyone returning self-isolating for 2 weeks. Some are concerned this will open the flood gates and that people won’t follow the rules and others have been asking why do we have to isolate for 2 weeks when we come back and yet specialist contractors don’t have to?

Well, the Head of Law Enforcement will speak shortly about what his team will be doing regarding ensuring people to follow what is a legal requirement to self-isolate. With respect to specialist contractors, the Committee for health & social Care discussed this at length earlier this week and don’t believe that the proposals presented to it are sufficiently robust to enable it to permit special arrangements for such workers at this stage. We will be happy to review this but would like to obtain further information, including seeking advice from colleagues on the Committee for Economic Development before making a definitive decision.

Firstly, there has been a lot of discussion over social distancing. Do we still need to bother? Well yes we do. As I have already said, this will be crucial if we are to continue to control any potential spread of infection.

So, whilst social distancing of 2 metres should be maintained where possible, it is recognised that this isn’t always achievable and reduced social distancing is ok in certain circumstances. However, what will be absolutely essential is that we can test, trace and isolate. Contact tracing will be critical especially as lockdown measures are eased and more people will be out and about. One way people can help with this is by keeping a diary of where you’ve been and who you’ve been in contact with and template diaries for both adults and children have been produced by our comms team which can be downloaded from the coronavirus web page.

In addition, as a means of enabling further easing of restrictions but also not compromising our ability to control any future spread of infection, we are also introducing the concept of controlled and uncontrolled environments.

Controlled environments include places such as restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs/groups and  non-contact sports teams where a record of attendance is able to be kept and other strict measures observed.

In restaurants, cafes and pubs there needs to be at least 1 metre between tables and table service only is permitted.  People are not permitted to stand at bars or order in a way in which they mingle with other tables or patrons.  Strict controls also need to be placed on the number of people using rest rooms dependent on their size and they must be regularly cleaned.  Hand sanitiser must be readily available to patrons and hygiene measures observed.  

We have decided that pubs not serving food can open in phase 4 so long as they can follow the new guidance and take bookings ie people can’t just walk in off the street. However, having taken law enforcement advice, they will not be able to do so until Monday 1st June. When they do there will need to be controls over entry to ensure that social distancing can be maintained.

Now, as I said last week, we are not requiring registrations at this stage, but due to data protection issues and the need for public health to be able contact someone at short notice, those operating a controlled environment will need to email their details to XXXXX

In Uncontrolled environments – eg, supermarkets and other retail outlets, shops, parks, and playgrounds a 2 metre distance will be necessary from people you don’t know. This is because it will be hard to record who has been in contact with whom. Also, if a gym or sport facility cannot keep a record of attendance with details of timings and use of gym equipment, then a 2 metre social distance should be maintained.  

We’ve had questions as to what phase 4 means with respect to socialising and gatherings. 

As I said last week, Gatherings of up to 30 people will be allowed subject to social distancing and hygiene measures. 

What this means in practice is, you can arrange a social gathering of family and friends inside or outside of your home. For those people who you chose to bubble with in Phase 3 nothing needs to change in terms of the close contact you can have with those family and friends. What we would ask you to consider is that you are aware of your personal space and hygiene arrangements when extending your contacts to up to 30 people. 

If you are organising a social event or gathering of up to 30 people we need you to do the following to help us if we need to do any contact tracing in the event that a positive case of COVID-19 is identified:

  • Keep a list of the people who attended the social event or gathering – we need their names and a contact telephone number,
  • Maximise social distancing where you can (we know that it won’t be possible all of the time),
  • If you are providing food you need to consider the following:
    • Do not share plates or utensils 
    • Wash utensils in a dishwasher if possible
    • Do not provide serving spoons – individuals should serve food with their own cutlery
    • Reinforce hand hygiene and cleaning regimes
  • Don’t let people attend if they are unwell,
  • Make sure that toilet and other hygiene facilities are cleaned regularly. Where possible toilets should be used by one person at a time,
  • Reinforce hand hygiene with all of those who are present at the event or gathering.

Guidance has been produced for businesses and organisations and more details are available for those where extra caution is required, such as hairdressers and beauticians. There is also guidance for private health and wellbeing organisations and care homes where frameworks have been produced that align with the overarching exit framework that was updated last week.

The effect of the Directions approved by CHSC is quite profound. Virtually all businesses will permitted to open and virtually all recreational activity can resume. That means social distancing and hygiene  become increasing  important. As does the requiemrent to stay at home if you have symptoms.

As we extend our social contacts beyond our bubbles, people will need to take personal responsibility for the actions they take. We know that your contacts with close family and friends will be different to those who are slightly further removed.

We are not asking grandparents not to cuddle their grandchildren if they were not included in their bubble in Phase 3. We are not asking people to sit 2 metres apart from each other in their own homes when having dinner. We are not asking you to lock yourself in your houses and avoid all human contact.

What we are asking is that you recognise the risks, and maximise social distancing where you can. Where you can’t, then other public health measures should be increased such as hand washing and cleaning regimes. 

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