Guernsey's hospitality sector will suffer a 'second winter' as changes to border restrictions are unlikely to bring tourists to the island, Chief Minister Gavin St Pier has said during the most recent media briefing.
Concerns were raised that, while the partial return of day-7 testing would make things easier for residents, it would do little to assist the tourism industry that has been stifled as a result of worldwide travel restrictions.
Hospitality heads have revealed just how far occupancy levels have dropped from their usual summer levels in an interview with Express earlier this week.
“We are, effectively, closed for tourism,” said Deputy St Pier. “We have acknowledged many times in these briefings that for all intents and purposes, the tourism sector is, unfortunately, experiencing a second winter that will roll into the next normal winter experience.”
Deputy St Pier felt that reopening Guernsey’s borders would not necessarily stimulate the tourism sector in the way that some might expect.
“Even if we threw the doors open tomorrow, the reality is that while there would be a few more visitors, the tourism industry is not going to recover at this stage.”
Pictured: Businesses such as restaurants and tourist activities are still eligible to receive payroll co-funding after the scheme was recently extended to the end of September. Click HERE to read more.
“Plans have changed, people are not interested in travelling in the numbers they were. That has been a part of our accepted planning and response, and has informed our decision to continue to support the hospitality and accommodation sector through this period.”
HSC President Heidi Soulsby added that, if borders were to re-open to allow more tourists, the island would need to return to non-pharmaceutical interventions to mitigate the level of risk. “We might need to bring back social distancing in restaurants and pubs. We might need to think about wearing masks on buses and in shops,” she said.
“Where we are at the moment is saying ‘if we want to maintain what we’ve got on island, with very few restrictions, we need to be very careful about what we do with the borders.'”
Pictured Top: “All of the decisions since the beginning of March have been a series of pretty unpalatable choices. We’ve been seeking to make the least unpalatable choices and a series of compromises that come as a result of the impact on life” – Deputy Gavin St Pier.
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