1. Spending Measures (Budget Allocations)
No concrete budget measures have been formally adopted as yet save for those outlined below.
2. Tax Measures (Deferral of Payroll Tax Obligations, Extensions of Tax Filing Deadlines)
Provisions have been introduced for the deferral of social insurance employer contributions, social security payments for the self employed and property taxes for businesses – this does not extend to professional services (legal, accountancy and so forth).
3. Subsidies to Preserve Jobs, Employee Benefits, Food Assistance
The Social Security Office provides support for individuals in need through a Hardship Fund coupled with existing social security benefits. A grant scheme has been introduced to provide up to £3000 to self-employed persons (single operators) and to those that employ up to 10 persons subject to eligibility criteria.
A Coronavirus Payroll Co-Funding Scheme is also available for employers to assist with furloughing staff.
It will help to pay employees an amount equivalent to Guernsey’s minimum wage. The reference to minimum wage ensures a level playing field. This is currently set at £8.50 per hour (£8.05 for 16- and 17-year olds). For a 35-hour week this figure would equate to a gross figure of £298. The States of Guernsey will meet 80% of this figure (i.e. £238 per week based on a 35-hour week). Employers must make up the remaining 20% (equivalent to £60 per week). Employers are encouraged to ‘top-up’ these amounts further if they are able to do so.
The Coronavirus Payroll Co-Funding Scheme will be available to all employers (regardless of number of employees) in the sectors affected by loss of business income due to Coronavirus. Initially, these are expected to be the following sectors: hospitality and tourism; passenger transport and travel; rental and leasing of cars and recreational goods; recreation and entertainment; event management and event services; personal service activities such as hairdressers, beauticians and animal boarding; commercial fishing; private extra-curricular education such as dance and riding schools; non-food and non-pharmacy retail; advertising and marketing; construction; and manufacturing.
It does not cover the mainstay financial services sector including legal and accountancy services.
Mooring fees for commercial fishermen have been suspended.
4. Public Loan Guarantees and Expansion of Loans to Businesses
5. Student Loan Relief
6. Insolvency Law Relief
A recent overhaul of the company insolvency provisions was passed recently but has yet to be brought into force. This is likely to now be expedited with the simultaneous introduction of Insolvency Rules.
Nothing in specific response to the pandemic has been introduced formally into legislation as yet but consultation is ongoing with the States by interested professional bodies. The judiciary is, in any event, likely to exercise considerable discretion and latitude to any enforcement action concerning local domestic facing business where financial difficulty has been generated through the current crisis.
Measures being considered include raising the level of debt that can be claimed under the statutory demand route and suspending or introducing a moratorium on the presentation of winding up applications.
1. Reduction of Interest Rates
Interest Rates are set by the Bank of England.
2. Expansion of Central Bank’s Holdings of Government Bonds
3. Other Measures to Support Flow of Credit
4. Suspension of Foreclosures/Evictions
Nothing has been introduced formally into legislation as yet but consultation is ongoing with the States by interested professional bodies. The judiciary is likely to exercise considerable discretion and latitude to any enforcement action concerning local domestic facing business where financial difficulty has been generated through the current crisis.
5. Reductions/Suspensions of Mortgage Payments
This is down to individual lenders but most follow the codes of practice adopted by industry in the UK and will follow them including provision of payment holidays and so forth.
6. Asset Purchases (Liquidity Facilities, Purchase of Private and Public Sector Securities, Acquiring Equity of Larger Affected Companies)
7. Exchange Rate Adjustments
1. Social Distancing
Strict measures were brought into place from 00:01 25 March 2020. There is power for the police to fine or caution individuals and disperse gatherings.
They require people to stay at home save for limited purposes. All gatherings of more than two people in public are forbidden (save for members of the same household or for essential work purposes).
People should only leave the house for one of four reasons:
- Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
- Up to two hours exercise a day, to include walking, cycling, running or sea swimming or other open sea activities alone or with members of your household. If sea swimming or open sea activities are undertaken they may be undertaken with one other person present, for safety reasons, provided social distancing is maintained and it is understood that such swimming or open sea activities are undertaken at the individual's own risk. People will be able to tend livestock and animals such as horses.
- Any medical need, if instructed to do so by a healthcare worker or required to do so having called 999, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
- Travelling to and from work if you are a critical worker, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household. These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.
2. Closure of Public Places for Gathering
Community spaces including playgrounds and leisure facilities are closed. Parks, beaches and so forth remain open for exercise.
3. Closure of Non-Essential Businesses
The States of Guernsey have ordered certain businesses and other venues to close: Including:
- All non-essential retail stores – essential retail stores are limited to food and pharmacy goods.
- Community centres
- Youth centres
- Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities – such as soft play facilities and outdoor play areas
- Communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
- Places of worship
- Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers)
As of 8 April 2020, non-essential businesses will be able to offer home delivery services for orders placed online or by phone paying by credit card subject to strict compliance with safe social distancing working methods and hygiene protocols for individual delivery drivers.
4. School Closures
All schools are closed pending further review. School facilities remain open for provision of schooling to children of key workers and day care over the Easter holiday period.
This will next be reviewed on 18 April 2020 (the end of the scheduled Easter school holiday).
1. International Assistance
Guernsey is a Crown Dependency of the United Kingdom and can seek assistance from the UK authorities. The States of Guernsey has been liaising with the UK government in relation to provision of PPE supplies and other measures.