Potential details of ‘Guernsey’s strategy’ for exiting lockdown - shared by Farmhouse Managing Director David Nussbaumer with key staff “in strict confidence” - came from one of the hotelier’s friends in London, he has claimed, after another leaked email.
The email in question was sent by Mr Nussbaumer at 17:59 on 23 February 2021 with the subject line ‘Guernsey strategy as it stands today and this in strict confidence please’.
Express approached Mr Nussbaumer for comment in response to claims made by Deputy Charles Parkinson on social media.
On 23 February 2021, David Nussbaumer was able to advise his employees (by email) that:— Charles Parkinson (@dep_parkinson) August 28, 2021
1)Restaurants & Hotels open in two weeks time
2)Bars/nightclubs open in one month, social distancing removed
3)Borders open in August, so staycations only until end of July
Pictured: The email that Mr Nussbaumer was alleged to have sent to some staff members on 23 February.
Mr Nussbaumer admitted to having sent an email to this effect, which he attributed to a friend in the UK. There is no evidence Express could find that suggests any of this information was in the public domain at the time.
“The email followed a private conversation I had with a friend in London,” said Mr Nussbaumer, when asked where he had got his 'Guernsey strategy' from.
“We were discussing the situation as to what was happening in the UK and what he was thinking was going to happen over here.
“As you can see by the contents of that email the actual outcome was far different to what he had suggested.”
Pictured: The email, which has since been leaked to local media by other sources, that appears to have been sent by Mr Nussbaumer on 23 February.
However, Express considered Mr Nussbaumer's strategy versus the final details of the Bailiwick Blueprint.
The prediction that restaurants and hotels would open in two weeks turned out to be correct. This came into effect on 8 March.
The prediction that bars and nightclubs would open in one month was also correct.
On 22 March, gatherings of over 100 people were allowed with a specific risk assessment and a record of people attending.
Pictured: Emails previously leaked to local media appeared to show that Mr Nussbaumer decided not to report an employee to the Guernsey Border Agency for what he himself described as “an extremely serious” breach of isolation rules.
The other prediction was that borders would open in August. Border restrictions were removed for fully-vaccinated travellers within the Common Travel Area on 1 July, before new precautions were introduced due to the spread of the highly transmissible Delta Variant in the UK.
At the time of Mr Nussbaumer's email, official reports from Guernsey's authorities suggest that details around the island's exit from lockdown were yet to be decided.
In a press release distributed by the States on 24 February - the day after Mr Nussbaumer's email - it was “expected that Stage 2 will allow considerably more scope for businesses to operate in a normal or near-normal way, albeit with some Covid restrictions still in place.
This was elaborated upon at that day’s media briefing, when Chairman Peter Ferbrache said the emergency decision-making authority “will next week be receiving a paper on when and if we can start giving dates for the release of border restrictions."
I'm hearing that, on senior authority, our borders will be open by 1 August.— Charles Parkinson (@dep_parkinson) February 24, 2021
Meanwhile, also on 24 February, Deputy Parkinson tweeted that he had heard, on "senior authority", that Guernsey's borders would be open by the start of August.
In response, the CCA said it "had not set any dates for removing the current travel restrictions," adding: "That is being constantly reviewed, but will depend on a wide range of factors including what happens in other jurisdictions. As soon as further decisions are made, we’ll announce them."
It was not until 1 March that the CCA updated its guidance for Stage 2 of the exit from lockdown. The guidance covered rules for businesses, households and social gatherings.
It appears that the CCA then made a final decision, on 2 March, to move to Stage 2 on 8 March, covering the opening of hotels and restaurants with social distancing.
However, this cannot be verified because the CCA does not publish the minutes of meetings retrospectively, despite several requests from media outlets and some politicians.
CCA members have previously cited Section 22 of the Civil Contingencies Law in explaining this. This covers the unauthorised disclosure of information confidential to the CCA, which is an offence by law.
Pictured: The relevant sub-sections of Guernsey's Civil Contingencies Law.
Asked for comment, the CCA said it "has no further comment to make at this stage and would refer you to the statement issued by Deputy Soulsby as Acting Chair earlier in the week."
That statement read: “Members of the Civil Contingencies Authority are aware of the media reports and social media comments. However, the CCA is not the appropriate body to comment on or investigate any allegation of a breach in the law.”
In the States this week, the CCA Chairman will be asked to set out what advice he gave his close friend and client in relation to the alleged isolation breach at the Farmhouse Hotel in May.
He will also be asked whether he has ever discussed confidential information with any family, friends or clients ahead of its official publication.
I have today submitted the following questions to the Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority. Under Rule 11, I should be supplied with written answers by 5pm on Tuesday 7th, before they are asked and answered in person in the Assembly on Wednesday 8th September. pic.twitter.com/KvHMbCTOR3— Gavin St Pier ???????? (@gavinstpier) August 31, 2021
In response to the alleged breach at the Farmhouse, Deputy Ferbrache insisted to Express that he would "never, ever" tell someone not to comply with the Covid-19 regulations.
Contacted by Express, Deputy Ferbrache said: "I have never disclosed to Mr Nussbaumer or anyone else any information that I should not have disclosed."
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