The States yesterday adopted a new law which reinforces the need to maintain social distancing, but gives people greater freedom of movement than during recent months.
The new Covid-19 regulations supersede the so-called Stay-at-Home Order, which made it an offence to enter another person’s home to socialise.
Although it is no longer an offence, the government is asking Islanders to ‘think carefully about whether to allow people inside your own home, and whether to enter others’ homes’.
Ministers are also strongly discouraging people from holding parties or other large gatherings in their homes.
Under the new regulations, Islanders can continue to meet up to five others they don’t live with, and are encouraged to do so outside, where transmission risk is lower.
The maximum six-hour time limit for being outdoors has also ended today.
People ‘severely vulnerable’ to complications from Covid-19, such as those with a high-risk medical condition listed on the government’s website, and people ‘vulnerable’ to complications, such as those with underlying health conditions, remain advised to be extra vigilant and to make a personal choice about the extent to which they wish to continue to shield themselves.
Health Minister Richard Renouf said: ‘Following advice from the Medical Officer of Health, these new regulations mean a further easing of the rules that have been in place since the end of March.
‘Because there is now a low level of Covid-19 transmission in the Island, the legal restrictions in the former Stay-at-Home Order that have kept us in our homes are no longer necessary.
‘But we do still need everyone to stay two metres away from others outside their household, as this is the most effective way to control the spread of the virus.’
He added: ‘Two metres is a distance that protects from the airborne droplets of a cough or sneeze, and it also reminds us to avoid handshakes, hugs, or kissing friends’ cheeks, as is customary in more normal times.’
Islanders are also being reminded that anyone who fails to comply with the direction of a police officer to cease gathering at less than two metres with someone from another household can be fined up to £1,000, or a maximum of £200 if an offence is dealt with at a parish hall inquiry. Parents and guardians will be held responsible for ensuring that children follow the rules.
The new powers do not apply to private houses and gardens.
They also do not apply to workplaces, shops and construction sites, which must still follow tailored public-health guidelines.