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19th June 2020, 17:39

GSD calls on Government to bring forward Gibraltar's full Unlock date to early or mid-July

The GSD is calling on the Government to bring forward Gibraltar's full Unlock date from the 1st of August to early or mid-July.

In a statement, the Opposition party said rather than introducing new restrictions on restaurants, the Government should consider if there is now a case for restoring further freedoms at a faster pace, given that Gibraltar has no active Covid-19 cases. Party Leader Keith Azopardi said social bubbles should also be enlarged beyond 12.

However, the Government has hit back saying the GSD's statement is contrary to public health advice. Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, also confirmed that the rule on gatherings of no more than 12 is being renewed for 30 days on advice of Public Health Gibraltar, but said this will be reviewed on 29th June.

The GSD points out that the Unlock Document itself recognises the principle of dynamic review, and highlights the Chief Minister's own forward which says some changes may be accelerated.

GSD Leader Keith Azopardi said the low prevalence of the virus on the Rock since the easing of lockdown measures began in early May, raises questions as to the proportionality of current restrictions. He said issues such as the crowd scenes at Chatham Counterguard last Friday are not addressed with a midnight curfew, adding there needs to be a broad respect of new norms of behaviour.

Mr Azopardi said the Unlock Road Map was drafted in April, and didn't envisage that the number of active cases would be negligible but stressed there is now a case for enlarging the social bubble to beyond 12.

However, the Government has hit back saying the GSD's statement is contrary to public health advice.

In a statement, the Chief Minister said Gibraltar has adhered to the prudent design of the various unlocking phases, with the latest key stage seeing a loosening of restrictions at the border with Spain over a week ago. He said the Government continues to keep a close eye on cases and insists he took the correct decision to impose a midnight curfew on restaurants. Fabian Picardo confirmed that following a meeting of the Civil Contingencies office and the Environmental Agency, restaurant owners at Chatham Counterguard will be sent a letter reminding them of their obligations.

Furthermore, he confirmed the RGP and the Environmental Agency are liaising about an enforcement strategy, and warned that any establishment not adhering to the rules will risk having their permits withdrawn.

The Chief Minister confirmed that the rules on social gatherings not larger that 12 is being renewed for another 30 days on the advice of Public Health Gibraltar, but said this will reviewed on 29th June.

Mr Picardo accused the GSD of sending mixed signals, and warned the war with Covid is far from over.