Lockdown – Do Not Pick Up a Needless Fine!

March 31, 2020

The Covid-19  (Restricted Movement) (Jersey) Order 2020 came into force yesterday, 30th March 2020.  This was issued under Regulation 5 of the Covid 19 (Screening, Assessment and Isolation) (Jersey) Regulations 2020.  The Regulations permit the Government to prohibit people from going to, or remaining in, public places.  Under the Regulations, such an Order can only be imposed for a maximum of 14 days, although that time limit can be extended by 14 days at a time by the making of a further Order.

The Restrictions

The Order prohibits any person (unless an exception applies to that person) from going into, or remaining in, a public place during the period of restricted movement.  The restricted movement period started at 08:00 hours yesterday morning and (currently) ends at 08:00 hours on Monday 13th April 2020.  Although the Regulations limit the effect of the Order to an initial period of 14 days, the Chief Minister has made it clear that such a ‘lockdown’ will be in place until at least 30th April 2020.  We can, therefore, expect the Order to be extended in due course.

The Consequences

Any person who is found (without a reasonable excuse) to have entered and/or remained in a public place, commits an offence and is liable to a fine of up to £1,000.00.  Police officers are also able to remove any person found in contravention of the Order and return them to their place of residence or any other place which appears suitable to the Police officer.  If the Police officer suspects a person is potentially infectious, the Police officer may order the person to go somewhere for screening or assessment.  If a person does not follow the direction of the Police officer in this respect, that person commits an offence and can be punished by a fine of up to £10,000.00.

The Exceptions

The Order provides ‘exceptions’ from the requirement not to go to, or remain in, a public place.  This list consists of Police officers and other such authorised officers; any person who enters a public place for the purpose of work (including voluntary or charitable work), when it is not reasonably practicable for that person to work from their home; and any other person required to go to, or remain in, a public place to fulfil a legal obligation.  The Government has provided a list of ‘essential workers’ who are permitted to continue attending work at this time.

Lockdown Guidance

The Government has also issued some guidance as to permitted reasons to be outside the home.  People may leave their home for up to two hours each day for essential shopping, daily exercise and for any medical needs.  However, when outside the home a social distance of two meters must be maintained from other persons outside of your household.  Although some businesses such as Garden Centres remain open, they remain open for purely essential purposes such as purchasing pet food etc.  The same (obviously) applies to other establishments such as retail outlets and newsagents.  People should follow the directions of staff to ensure that suitable social distancing measures are taken. 

The Goal

These measures are extraordinary and a significant infringement of our civil liberties.  However, the situation they are designed to tackle is also extraordinary.  The hope is that if everyone sticks together as a community and respects the guidance issued by the Government, we will come out of this ‘lockdown’ period sooner rather than later (and with fewer consequences) and return to normality.


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