The Government’s Civil Contingencies Strategic Coordinating Group met on Thursday to consider different options for the de-escalation of COVID restrictions.
After subsequent consideration by Ministers and the Director of Public Health, consultation with other interested bodies and given the continued low prevalence of COVID 19 infections in the Community, the Government is now able to announce the following further relaxation of restrictions which will take effect on Sunday 14th March 2021:
- The curfew presently in place will be changed to apply from midnight to 5am and, subject to new positive cases remaining low, will lifted entirely as from Thursday 25th
- The numbers of persons who can book a table at a restaurant will increase from 6 to 8 but the number of persons who can gather in a public place will for now remain 12. We will keep these numbers under weekly review and will seek to increase them further as soon as it is safe to do so.
- The restrictions limiting the sale of alcohol by licensed establishments will cease to apply as from Sunday.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, said: “It is exactly a year since we first found ourselves forced to impose restrictions on our liberty and our ability to enjoy our hard won constitutional freedoms. It has been our hardest year in Government and the toughest year for our nation in decades. We have lost many loved ones and we have seen our economy severely disrupted. In all this time we have constantly kept all restrictions we have had to impose under review. As guardians of our constitutional civil liberties and freedoms, the Government I lead has never wanted to maintain any restriction for a moment longer than is strictly adviseable and necessary. For that reason, the Minister for Health, who also has responsibility for Civil Contingencies, has this week been consulting widely this week on the issue of the restrictions that are in place. That led to the happy decision made on Tuesday and communicated yesterday to re-introduce visits in both the St Bernard’s Hospital and the ERS. We are now able to announce the lifting of many of the outstanding restrictions. We will continue to remove further restrictions as soon as we are advised it is safe to do so. Rules on the wearing of masks will not be further relaxed at this stage. In lifting these restrictions I must nonetheless emphasise the need for caution and continued personal responsibility in ensuring the maintenance of social distancing and hand and respiratory hygiene. As restrictions are relaxed there is a renewed air of normality around us, but things are not quite normal yet and we must all remain both prudent and cautious in our approach to the COVID 19 virus.”