Jersey’s borders WILL reopen this Friday after States Members voted in favour following a debate lasting more than 10 hours.
In the end, 34 politicians voted 'pour' and 10 'contre'.
There were no abstentions.
The States Assembly has voted to ADOPT the amended Safer Travel Period policy allowing travel to commence from 3rd July 2020 and introducing a number of testing and self-isolation measures.— States Assembly (@StatesAssembly) July 1, 2020
34 FOR vs 10 AGAINST
Under the new 'Safer Travel' policy, islanders will no longer need government permission to travel and will have to take a PCR (diagnostic swab) test for covid-19 upon arrival in Jersey.
If the test returns a negative result, they will be allowed to move freely around the island.
However, there is no plan to enforce self-isolation while they await the result of their test, though Ministers previously expressed hopes that islanders will use "common sense".
Anyone who chooses not to have a test will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
A dedicated testing facility is already in place at the airport, and one is currently under construction at the harbour.
Work coming along on Ports arrivals for swab testing at Elizabeth Terminal and will be completed for Friday. Thanks everyone for their hard work @ChiefNurseJsy @sharkymich pic.twitter.com/WlA6bmpsg7— Martin Warnette (@MartinWarnette) July 1, 2020
The decision to reopen the island to commercial travel from this Friday (3 July) comes despite a push from the Scrutiny Liaison Committee led by Senator Kristina Moore earlier today to delay the reopening by one week.
Numerous States Members spoke in favour of the idea, including Ministers who broke ranks.
Environment Minister Deputy John Young said the government should have a more robust testing, track and trace programme in place before reopening.
Children's Minister Senator Sam Mézec said economic concerns had bled into health concerns, arguing that it wasn’t right to allow visitors to go out in the island before they have received a negative test result.
He also suggested that instead of allowing travel with the UK, “one of the worst affected countries”, Jersey should look at air bridges with Guernsey, the Isle of Man or Madeira.
However, the plan to delay the reopening was thrown out.
The group of senior Scrutineers did, however, succeed in getting the government to agree to create a list of ‘safe countries’ for travel based on their R number and testing regime.
The overall debate lasted more than 10 hours, with one speech by Deputy Montfort Tadier lasting in excess of 50 minutes.
The length of the speech prompted an intervention from Constable of St. Saviour, Sadie Le Sueur Rennard, who asked: “Will you just get on with it Monty? Please Monty, could you just get on with it and get to the point please?”
Her comments led to a reprimand from the Deputy Bailiff, who told her that it was "quite inappropriate" to interrupt.
Minutes later, another individual could be heard in the background, saying: "I'm starving, I want my tea!"
Eventually, States Members voted in favour of a guillotine motion, forcing the closure of the debate, and leaving Senator Ian Gorst to sum up his argument in favour of opening the borders before the final vote.
Speaking following last night's debate, Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré said: “We brought our proposition to the Assembly with the health and wellbeing of Islanders at the forefront of our minds. Today’s debate has been an emotional one, and I understand the genuine concern among some Islanders. I want to reassure them that we have a robust system in place, which will test all arriving passengers who have opted not to self-isolate.
“We are in a very good place now, with no known active cases, and we want to protect that situation as far as possible. But we must also enable our valued hospitality businesses to get back to work, employ people and provide the services that can be enjoyed by both Islanders and visitors.”
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