Distancing Abolished And Nightclubs Reopening

There is no requirement to social distance and mass gatherings are allowed again now Guernsey has moved to phase 5 of the lockdown exit framework.

We're now in what's being called the 'Bailiwick Bubble'. Even though distancing and gathering rules have eased - islanders are being asked to respect each other's personal space, maintain good hygiene and stay at home if feeling unwell.

All businesses that had to stay closed during lockdown can now open again.

It means nightclubs and bars can reopen. Contact sport can also resume.

President of the Committee for Health and Social Care, Deputy Heidi Soulsby, has called this move 'a real milestone' and recognition of the combined effort of the whole community.

"This is a big moment and one to celebrate, but my thoughts are also with those who have suffered the most, and those who have made the greatest sacrifices. We cannot forgot that lives have been lost. We cannot forget those who could not be with their loved ones at the end of their lives or who have had to hold funerals without the many friends and family they would want around them to say goodbye properly.

"Others have cancelled big, once-in-a-lifetime plans such as their wedding. And others have had very personal struggles with mental health resulting from the fear and isolation of this period. We must not forget what this pandemic has cost us."

It's now been more than 50 days since Guernsey had a case of COVID-19.

Speaking in a media briefing yesterday, Chief Minister Gavin St Pier also paid tribute to islanders for their sacrifices in getting to this point.

"I'm just so proud of the whole Bailiwick community. In all the islands and us all being part of it and us coming together as 'Guernsey Together'.

"I think whatever the course of this virus from here, just actually getting to this point alone has been an experience that I think firstly none of us will ever forget, but secondly it's been so transformational in so many ways."

Buses can run at full capacity once again, with weekend services operating as normal. The nightbus is also back in action from tonight. 

School buses will run to timetable from Monday 22 June. Places don't have to be reserved any more now that full capacity has returned. Walking and cycling to and from school is still encouraged if and where possible.

Cash is still not being accepted on board. Anyone who doesn't have contactless is asked to buy a 'Pay as you go' orange puffin pass. 

The Guille-Allès Library is now open full-time with all services resuming - including events, study space, children’s activities, and community libraries.

"We’re really looking forward to welcoming more people back to the Library. It will be great to see families back in the Children’s Library and to offer our full range of services once again." - Laura Milligan, Chief Librarian.

The free home delivery service will continue for people shielding or self-isolating. There was a 30% increase in the number of people downloading Ebooks and audiobooks during lockdown.

Beau Sejour will be the first community public leisure centre in the British Isles to reopen to business as usual from Monday 22 June. It was the first in the Isles to reopen partially on Thursday 4 June.

"We made a lot of changes and adaptations to open Beau Sejour during Phase 4. This included swimmers getting changed on poolside; a booking system in place for every activity – and a one-way system implemented throughout the whole centre to ensure social distancing was being adhered to. We now need to get the Centre ready for its normal operating hours, activities and facilities." - Sam Herridge, Head of Recreation Services.

The centre is open this weekend between 7am and 7pm to most activities. The gym is, however, only open for booked slots so staff can rearrange the layout for normal opening on Monday.

The soft play and cafe is open as normal and clubs, associations and clients can make bookings as they did before lockdown.

Issues with staffing mean the Centre’s Kiddy Kapers sessions and Beau Sejour Holiday Club can't continue 'for the foreseeable future'.

"Beau Sejour Leisure Centre continues to be a key focal point for the community – and the fact that the Centre and its team is gearing up for normal opening at a time when leisure centres in other parts of the British Isles continue to struggle and remain closed is a great testament to the fantastic GuernseyTogether community spirit that has been demonstrated throughout this pandemic." - Deputy Matt Fallaize, President of the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture.

The move to Level 5 means All States of Guernsey counter services will reopen on Monday 22 June. Despite that, islanders are still encouraged to phone or go online if possible.

The island’s Chest & Heart service has reopened for routine screening and The St John Care in the Community Library will reopen on Tuesday 23 June

Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery, as well as Cafe Victoria, will open again on Thursday 2 July. Castle Cornet and its museums are opening on Saturday 18 July, a day after schools break up for the summer holidays.

"Even after we enter phase 5, we cannot drop our guard entirely. Our extended testing programme will continue to test hundreds of samples each day and our contact tracers will be ready to respond 24/7 if and when we see a new positive case. We must be alert that this is a real possibility. We shouldn’t panic when it happens, and we will react quickly to identify and isolate any associated cases. That ‘test, track and isolate’ will remain at the heart of our strategy going forward." - Dr. Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health.

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