New Christmas Covid restrictions and all food venues to close amid surge in cases

ISLANDERS are being told not to mix with other households – except on Christmas Day and Boxing Day – after ministers outlined new measures in the face of a continued rise in Covid cases.

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In a press briefing today, Chief Minister John Le Fondré also confirmed that cafés and other food outlets that have been allowed to stay open during the hospitality circuit breaker must now close, except for takeaway services.

Dr Ivan Muscat, deputy medical officer of health, said: 'I cannot overemphasise this: We are in a serious position, and without concerted action by us all, it will become more serious as we enter the Christmas period.

'The most pressing issue is gathering indoors – whether at home or at work.

'From now on, pending further information, mixing between households indoors and in private gardens must stop. If you must mix with another household, you should do so outside in a large space like on the beach, in a park, or in country lanes and maintain two metres of physical distance at all times.

'Visits for caring purposes can continue but families need to think very carefully about seeing elderly or vulnerable people indoors, for a prolonged period of time. This is a high-risk activity and it doesn’t matter if it happens on Christmas Day, or this Sunday.

'Acting in this careful, sensible way will have the greatest possible impact on transmission in the coming weeks.

'We understand that Christmas Day and Boxing Day are special occasions, and meaningful to many Islanders, and so people will want to meet.

'But you should be limiting any visits to these days only, and should only be doing two gatherings, one on each day, with a maximum of ten people.'

Senator Le Fondré confirmed the first deaths of the second wave, and said it was vital everyone now played their part in abiding by the restrictions to help bring case numbers down.

He continued: 'I can confirm that the hospitality circuit breaker will continue until at least the 4th January.

'From midnight tonight, I am instructing all cafés and other food premises that remain open, to close for everything other than takeaway service. Law officers are drafting an order to back this up and so this will be backed with enforcement as soon as possible.

'And from Monday, unless critical, you must work from home. You must limit the time spent indoors with people from other households, and this includes keeping your distance from colleagues unless your services are required to help keep the Island going.

'We recognise that these measures will have economic consequences not only on businesses but also on people’s livelihoods. We will be putting further support measures in place. These are being finalised today and I will be giving a further update at a press conference early next week.

'In the meantime, please continue to follow the guidelines and stay safe.'

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