New measures were put in place by the Gibraltar Government on 28th August to stop COVID-19 spreading as the numbers of active cases rose during that month.
The Government said in a Press Release that the strategy was introduced to avoid having to impose any general lockdown measures, leaving such an eventuality to a last resort.
There was already an obligation for the public to wear a mask when they are on the premises of a retail shop unless they had a reasonable excuse to not do so,but the new restrictions now include the compulsory wearing of masks in all covered public places, subject to certain specific exceptions. Socialising is being actively discouraged and it is recommended that people shouldonly meet with family members and established social groupings.
The over 70s are being asked to stay at home, unless it is absolutely necessary for them to go out and as from 11th September, the day after National Day, the Golden and Silver Hour areas will start to operate again. The ‘Golden Hour’ areas include Victoria Stadium and Commonwealth Park which will be reserved for people over 70 only on weekdays from 10.00am until 12 noon (Bank Holidays excluded). The ‘Silver Hour’ is for those who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 due to a medical condition and Commonwealth Park will be made available solely for those at risk between 9am and 9.45am.
The Government will once again upscale arrangements to provide all necessary delivery and other services to the over 70s who are unable to have these services provided by family members or others. They recommend that young people should not visit elderly grandparents (over 70) as they are the asymptomatic cases and could unwittingly transmit the virus to elderly relatives who are the most vulnerable, which could have fatal consequences.
Visiting time at homes run by the Elderly Residential Services (ERS) is limited again, going from 2 hours to 1 hour, and from 2 visitors to 1. At the time of the Press Release it was mentioned that it was likely that ERS may return to full lockdown soon.
Safety measures are being introduced at the elderly residential blocks including restricted access, compulsory mask wearing and hand sanitising procedures.
A ’No Loitering’ policy will be put in place at schools when they open which will accompany the staggered entry and exit system being introduced, and special arrangements will be made for grandparents over the age of 70 who are picking up children.
New measures are being considered by the Government which would be implemented at Gibraltar International Airport to increase safety for those taking flights to the UK before they are permitted to embark aircraft.
It was also announced that the COVID-19 Special Coordination Group will now meet at least twice a week, more often if necessary, and that the Platinum Command will start meeting once a week to do a daily review of updated numbers of infections.
The message from the Gibraltar Government is “to stick together, follow the rules and protect the vulnerable”. Fabian Picardo stated that “we have done very well until now as a community in avoiding the worst effects of COVID-19”.