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Phase 5 of Gibraltar’s Unlock the Rock Begins: Here’s What to Expect

Chris Gomez

Today (29.06.2020), Gibraltar has officially moved into Phase 5 of Unlock the Rock as Gibraltar hits the three-week mark of having 0 local COVID19 cases. Restrictions on gatherings relaxed, sporting activities resume, and restaurants can now seat 10 people per table… here is what to expect during Phase 5.

Gibraltar’s handling of the COVID19 pandemic has been praised by World Health Organization members as well as the Financial Times, which gave favourable comments about the Rock’s BEAT COVID app, and the Economist, which has covered the success of Gibraltar’s Golden Hour Scheme.

Among these factors, the Chief Minister said during an exclusive interview with Reach Alcance, that Gibraltar was “the only nation in Europe who took a step to confine over 70’s before we took a step to confine the general population – I think that that was key in controlling the spread of the virus.”

The Chief Minister said during a press conference: “Its obvious that we’ve had a very good story to tell on the receding level of infections and number of active cases.”

To date, 177 cases have been confirmed on the Rock – with the latest one being a cross-frontier worker who, according to Fabian Picardo, was asymptomatic and was detected while attending their first day working at Gibraltar’s Elderly Residential Services (ERS).

“There had been no contact with the patients when the test results were returned. Others who had been in contact with the person are being monitored”, said Mr. Picardo.

Due to the successful management of the virus in Gibraltar, phase 5 has officially been approved today. Here’s what’s changed:

Restaurants & Bars: Extended Curfew & Tables of 10 People

Gibraltar Unlock the Rock Phase 5 Restaurants
Main Street, Gibraltar | ©Fran Motes, Reach Alcance

Previously, the maximum amount of people allowed to be seated at a table at a bar or restaurant was 6 people. As from today, groups of 10 people will now be allowed to be seated at a table.

Bars and restaurants, which were subjected to a curfew of midnight, are now also able to remain open until 2 AM.

Limits on Public Gatherings Eased

Due to Gibraltar’s current successful management of the virus, public gatherings have now been increased from 12 people, to groups of 20.

Reflecting on the restrictions on freedom of movement and on gatherings, the Chief Minister said:

“The last thing I expected when I toasted the arrival of 2020 was that I would be imposing a curfew on people being able to stay out at night. I must tell you, I hate doing these things.”

Clinicial Activity at GHA to Restart

As from Friday, 3rd of July, clinicial activity at the GHA will resume.

Gibraltar Begins to Open up to Tourism

Gibraltar Unlock the Rock Phase 5 Tourist Sites, Upper Rock Nature Reserve
Upper Rock Nature Reserve | ©Fran Motes, Reach Alcance

Over this weekend, Gibraltar was positively featured in travel and food articles in the Daily Mail and the Telegraph. So, as the world prepares to reopen their economies to tourism again, what are the plans for tourism for the Rock in Phase 5?

During today’s press conference, Mr. Picardo said: “We will now start the reopening of our tourist sites and the nature reserve over the course of this week.”

He also stated that Gibraltar is in continuing talks in relation to air bridges between Gibraltar and the UK.

Will Facemasks be Mandatory?

Gibraltar Unlock the Rock Phase 5 Face Masks
La Línea | ©Fran Motes, Reach Alcance

In Spain, the use of facemasks in areas where social distancing is not possible, such as taxis or in shops, is mandatory with a potential of a €100 fine for breaching the rules.

Some believe this to be excessive and harmful due to the fact that they cause the wearer to breathe in more CO2, while others think that facemasks are the safest way to ensure the spread of the virus is limited. But will Gibraltar be imposing such a rule?

The Chief Minister said during today’s press conference:

“It’s an ongoing consideration. Here we are going to be led by public health advice, I don’t think this is a political decision to make…”

Today Marks the Final Day of COVID19 Text Message Updates

The Chief Minister revealed that today is the final day of COVID19 text message updates, and that COVID19 updates will now be published on Government social media and sent in press releases.

The text messaging service can be redeployed again should a significant increase in COVID19 occur.

What do you think?