Senator John Le Fondré said that all steps must be taken to avoid a third wave of infections and said that there are currently no plans to relax border controls. At present all travellers must isolate for ten days upon arrival.
Last week, ministers announced plans to gradually ease restrictions, with restaurants due to begin reopening on Monday with strict social distancing and mask-wearing measures in place.
As of yesterday, the number of known active cases in the Island was at 42, having peaked at more than 1,000 in December.
The Chief Minister, in a statement released on Wednesday evening, said that the vaccination programme was still ‘at the start’ and that it will be early summer before the majority of vulnerable Islanders have received their second dose as he urged Islanders to continue to abide by the guidance.
He said: ‘I can announce that ministers have agreed that hotels, under strict and controlled conditions, can open alongside restaurants from Monday 22 February. This will allow more Islanders to return to work in controlled settings and marks another point in our reconnection strategy and a return to normality.
‘However, we will not be relaxing our border restrictions just yet, and hotels that choose to open from next week will only be open to staycations and arriving passengers who are required to isolate.’
And Senator Le Fondré said that assessments has to whether activities such as singing and indoor sport can restart will take place after half-term. Once that has happened, ministers will begin to look at ‘lower risk activities in uncontrolled settings’ such as meeting people in their gardens.
‘If, and I stress if, cases remain low and our vaccination programme maintains its good progress, we will then consider further activities in uncontrolled settings, like meetings in homes,’ he said. ‘By then our days will be getting longer, and our warmer weather will help in combatting the virus.’