I consider that the management of the pandemic by our Public Health Department and the Civil Contingencies Authority has been well handled. With hindsight there will always be things that could have been done better or differently but the outcome, at the time of writing in early September, of some 17 weeks’ Covid-free is quite remarkable. There are differing opinions on where we should go from here. One thing is clear: the world as it existed before Covid-19 does not exist at present and is unlikely to do so for some time. The question for us to answer now is “which set of restrictions do we want to live with?” There are broadly two main options: Tight borders, with very little or no Covid in circulation and the population able to live completely normal lives within the borders, or looser borders, an ongoing level of Covid within the community, and restrictions such as masks in some contexts, some social distancing measures and a ban on very large gatherings. This option inevitably carries the risk of school closures and full lockdown if the virus gets out of hand. I remain in favour of the former option. I’m painfully aware of the desire for people to visit loved ones elsewhere and the impact on parts of the tourism industry, but I feel that remaining Covid-free serves the majority best. I am aware that if Covid was to start circulating again many older and otherwise physically vulnerable people would feel the need to put themselves under self-imposed house arrest. Perhaps up to a third of our population are either over 60 or living with a heath condition that makes them more vulnerable to the effects of the virus. It is not easy either way, but we are looked on with envy by many and are blessed to live in such a beautiful place.
How people experienced lockdown varied widely depending on people’s individual circumstances. However many people felt that some of the changes were things they wanted to hold on to once life started to return to normal. The strong community that lead to the #Guernsey Together spirit, was nothing new for us. Guernsey people are overwhelmingly caring and generous. But other things, such as quieter roads and more people taking up walking and cycling showed how things could be different.
However, there were others for whom the experience brought job losses and other mental and physical stresses and we need to ensure they are not left behind as we plan our recovery.