Coronavirus: Guernsey nightclubs to close to enforce social distancing

Guernsey nightclubs and bars which do not serve food will have to close to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

From 6.30pm tonight (Friday 20 March), bars and pubs which serve food will also face new restrictions which mean that alcohol can only be consumed with prepared or plated meals at tables.

The measures will be reviewed in ten days time and are being introduced in response to delays in receiving results of outstanding coronavirus tests.

Deputy Gavin St Pier, Guernsey's Chief Minister, says the government 'will not make apologies' for its efforts to protect the community.

Bars and clubs present a very real risk. This will come at very short notice to licensees but we will not make apologies for taking swift action to protect our community. This is a fast-developing situation and we are having to react in real-time. We have worked to come up with a proportionate solution, given the circumstances. Licensees must not only respect the new legal restrictions, but also the reasons we are introducing them. In other words, we expect both customers and licensees to follow the spirit not the letter of the law. If anyone is trying to think about how they can ‘get around’ these rules, they have failed to grasp the severity of the emergency we face and our determination to act in the wider interests of the community. We will have no hesitation whatsoever, as I’ve said before, in continuing to introduce stricter and more prescriptive rules, if we judge it is the right thing to do. We don’t want to do any of this. And we want as many businesses as possible to continue trading for as long as possible but, as I’ve said before, our ability to do so is entirely dependent on everyone working together to minimise the impact of this virus.

Deputy Gavin St Pier, Guernsey's Chief Minister

Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of Guernsey's Committee for Health & Social Care, says individuals have a 'moral responsibility' to help tackle the spread of the virus.

We need the community to work with us, for everyone’s sake. I’m hopeful that Islanders will do this. These measures may seem severe but they are similar to the old-fashioned Sunday licensing rules. We are looking to our past for a solution to this new present. We don’t want to curtail all social interaction, we know it’s important for people’s mental health and well-being, but these are extraordinary times and we will do what we must to keep people safe. I especially want to appeal to students, many of whom have just returned to the Island. We know this is a strange time for them with a lot of disruption, but it’s incredibly important they respect these new restrictions and observe social distancing. I cannot stress that enough.

Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of Guernsey's Committee for Health & Social Care