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Cinema May Reopen by August, Places of Worship by June & Contact Tracing App

Chris Gomez

Here are the key points from today’s press conference which gave details on issues such as:

  • When religious places of worship and cinemas might open
  • Details about a decentralised contact tracing app
  • Air pollution levels and
  • Privacy concerns over temperature scanning at places of business.

As of today (14.05.2020), Gibraltar continues to maintain low numbers of coronavirus infections.

There have been 147 confirmed cases on the Rock to date, this is down by one from yesterday’s 148 where one positive patient was duplicated in the results.
There are 3 active cases and 144 recovery cases.

4,243 test results have come back negative out of 4,508 total tests, (94.12% negative).

Theatres, Cinemas & Places of Worship

During today’s press conference hosted by Minister for Culture and Heritage Dr. Cortes and Minister for Digital and Financial Services Albert Isola, it was revealed that cinemas, theatres, and places of worship are currently being considered for reopening.

Minister Cortes said that although public gatherings and large events remain “a serious cause for concern”, theatres and cinemas can “control this situation better” while maintaining social distancing and new cleanliness standards.

We may see theatres operating at 1/3 of their current capacity by the 3rd of August; half capacity by the 5th of October and, should things go to plan, full capacity by the 30th of November.

Minister Cortes also stated that these restrictions on theatres and cinemas “can possibly be released a little sooner.”

He will also be meeting with religious leaders next week to discuss the way forward for communal religious gatherings, with places of worship expected to reopen during Phase 3 of the ‘Unlock the Rock’ strategy after the 1st of June.

Religious institutions will be adopting social distancing measures and new rules, with the Minister claiming that this area will be “more difficult than opening a theatre or cinema. There will be many faithful who anxiously await the time that they can return to collective worship and it will be difficult to control numbers and distancing.”

Government to legislate to ensure Temperature Scanning doesn’t Breach Privacy Laws

The Government of Gibraltar has announced new legislation that would protect businesses from potential privacy legal violations should they opt to implement temperature scanning.

This comes after the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority stated:

“Carrying out temperature checks is a privacy intrusion, which can only be justified in very limited circumstances. It is important to note that in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, temperature checks could significantly impact the freedom of individuals”

When Minister Isola was questioned on this, he said “we’re perfectly entitled to not agree”, and that he believes it is the obligation of the Government of Gibraltar “to step in and make clear, beyond any doubt, that it’s not [illegal]” should businesses want to implement this measure.

Contact Tracking App

Gibraltar Contact Tracing App

Minister Isola said that the Government intends to roll out a decentralised tracking app that will not require the user to provide personal information.

“We will not know where you are, but the system will.”

He also said during questions that the app will not require your name, but the user must log within the app if they have tested positive for COVID19. The tracking app would then send a notification to those you have been in contact with, anonymously, and encourage them to make an appointment with the GHA for testing.

The Minister said that at least 60% of the population would need to use the app for it to be effective.

Many people are arguing that a tracing app is not warranted given the low rate of infection in Gibraltar, as the Rock maintains a 0% mortality rate to date.

The app remains voluntary, however it has been suggested that compliance could determine the speed of unlocking.

Pollution Levels on the Rock Remain Lower than Before Lockdown Despite Partial Unlocking

The latest update from the Environmental Agency shows that pollution levels remain lower than before the lockdown despite the partial easing of restrictions last week.

Family Gatherings of Under 12 People to be Allowed Next Week

Visiting family or friends at their homes, with no more than 12 persons at any time, will be allowed as from the 18th of May, if they are under the age of 70. Government has advised keeping a note of who you have visited for contact tracing purposes.

Legal Restrictions on Freedom of Movement to be Lifted

Legal Restrictions on freedom of movement for persons of all ages will be lifted on the 21st of May. Government advice will continue to be that staying at home is the safest.

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