19 March 2021
When we set out the plans for the Island’s social and economic reconnection on the 5th March, I said that we would be making a separate announcement about the future of travel to and from Jersey.
I recognise that this is a critical issue for many Islanders.
There are those who want to be able to visit family or friends in the UK, Europe, and further abroad.
There are individuals who need to attend to urgent overseas family and business matters in person.
And many simply want to be able to take a much-needed break ‘off the Rock’ for their mental and physical wellbeing.
Equally, there are also Islanders who will be concerned about the impact that reopening our borders will have on their safety, and the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community.
This evening we will be setting out the plans to allow travel to and from our Island in a safe and controlled way, through the phased reintroduction of our Safer Travel Policy.
On the advice of STAC, we have agreed a process that will allow the Island to reconnect with the rest of the world, following a phased approach, beginning with the UK and other Crown Dependencies on Monday 26th April.
By waiting until the end of April, this approach will protect our most vulnerable who are reaping the success of our swift and efficient Vaccination Programme that has given them protection against COVID-19.
It is thanks to you that we are enjoying low case rates, and are able to continue with our Vaccination Programme and the reopening of our community in tandem.
And, by following the travel rules, of testing and isolating, it will allow us all to travel and welcome people to our Island in a safe way.
I’ll now ask the Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Farnham, to discuss the detail of our travel reconnection plans and what Islanders can expect when travelling from 26 April.
Before I take questions, there are some additional changes that we are making to the current restrictions to ensure that we are treating Islanders and community groups as fairly and equally as possible as we reconnect.
The first is a change to faith worship, including marriage and funeral ceremonies, although not, I should emphasise, wedding receptions or wakes.
So, from Friday 26 March there will be NO restriction on the number of people being able to meet indoors for faith worship, as long as 2 metres physical distancing is observed, contact details are taken for tracing purposes, and masks are worn.
This will mean all faith communities can enjoy the coming period, whether that is the feast of Passover for the Island’s Jewish community, the spring festival of Holi for our Hindu community, the Easter celebrations for our Christian communities, and for our Muslim community to celebrate Ramadan in April.
Secondly, we want to ensure that children are given as much freedom as possible, for their physical and mental wellbeing, whist remaining safe.
From Friday 26 March all children’s indoor activities can allow up to 10 children without physical distancing or contact details needing to be recorded OR an unlimited number of children are permitted, as long as 2 metres physical distancing is observed, and contact details are taken for tracing purposes.
Furthermore, from that date all children’s outdoor activities will be allowed for up to 45 children, without physical distancing or contact details needing to be recorded.
I hope that these amendments will be welcomed, and provide additional freedoms to our community, as we continue to see low case numbers in Jersey.
We will continue to develop policies around opening up both the internal economy and our external borders over the coming weeks, including easing further restrictions on hospitality, retail and workplaces.
For the future, we will then begin to address the issues surrounding proposals for the introduction of Vaccination Passports, a review of the triple testing process, and an overall review of the Safer Travel Policy - as more Islanders are vaccinated and so protected from COVID-19.
We are only able to continue making these positive changes if we ALL continue following the rules and Public Health guidance, even as we reconnect. So please, I urge you, continue the good habits that have got us to this place.