Backlash after Covid exemptions for rugby boss' visit to Guernsey

Guernsey's former Chief Minister says he is "uncomfortable" that special Covid exemptions were for the British and Irish Lions Head Coach. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Guernsey's former Chief Minister says he is "uncomfortable" that the British and Irish Lions Head Coach was allowed to visit the island without isolating.

The government gave Warren Gatland permission to visit the island and view its sports facilities without needing to isolate for 14 days, as all other arrivals would.

The team is in talks about using Guernsey - and potentially Jersey - as a training camp this summer.

Now, Deputy Gavin St Pier has taken to social media to share his frustrations about the decision.

It is a rare example of poor Covid comms, probably for understandable reason (British Lions’ confidentiality), but it lacks empathy and emotional intelligence in #GuernseyTogether spirit. I hope the government will acknowledge it should’ve been handled differently, showing lesson learnt.

Deputy Gavin St Pier, Guernsey's Former Chief Minister

Meanwhile a Guernsey businessman has accused the government of "putting money and sport above the island's health and happiness". Dan Meinke who runs boat trips says he was asked to take Gatland out at cost price.

We've been through two lockdowns now. Obviously, the first one was halfway through the first season. We only get six months to make our money, so we're suffering from the consequences of last year still. We're trying to get back on our feet this year and look at another season of no tourists and no cruise ships.

Dan Meinke, Boat tour operator

In response, the government said it takes border restrictions "very seriously", but maintained there needs to be some flexibility.

This was a short visit over two days that was very tightly controlled, so we were comfortable it could be done safely. Measures including a post-travel test result, test on arrival, testing on each day, remaining in a hotel room with room service for meals and only leaving to visit a specific location or drive around the island in a car, were put in place.

Dr Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health

Dr Brink added that this is a process they have used many times during the management of the pandemic where there has been a justifiable need for someone to visit the island.