Please see below for an extract from the next issue the Guernsey Press’ business magazine, from Chamber president Barrie Baxter. Business Brief provides great insight for thousands of islanders and we value being able to contribute every month to this publication.


The New Normal

AS someone who has run their own businesses for the past 20 years, I feel the pain of what has happened recently for the scores of organisations who have had to fold, put their business on ice and painfully advise their teams that things cannot go on as normal.

Current times are in no sense ‘normal’ but we, as a business organisation, are staying positive and already making plans to see how we can help when the island is ready to re-emerge from its enforced hibernation.

The main focus now, quite rightly, is on the health of all islanders – their families, friends and the myriad people at increased risk through their efforts and determination to keep the island working. Where would we be without the hospital and health workers, supermarket teams, refuse removal people, utility staff and our emergency services. Is it not somewhat ironic that the people we are now relying on the most, are the ones who have historically been among the lowest paid. That will have to be reviewed at the end of this ordeal.

We applaud each and every one of them, together with all of the individuals who have sacrificed their businesses and normal forms of managing for the greater good to prevent the spread of this insidious illness.

Whilst we are normally outward-looking and keen
to engage on a very wide level, Chamber recognises that this is the time for Guernsey first. Our response to Covid-19 has been drawn up on-island taking the positives of experience elsewhere and forging our own

path to try to ensure that Guernsey is locked down for as short a time as is feasible and as many of the population as possible come through this healthy and well.

Working remotely, many islanders are juggling their “day jobs” with looking after children or elderly relatives and adjusting to a very different – and to a large degree highly stressful – existence. We applaud all of you.

The almost instant appearance of support networks, virtual social groups, clearly stated positive messaging and practical advice puts a shining light on Guernsey as a place to live. We have always known that the island has a special feel and the current situation has amplified that glow.

At a time when other jurisdictions are wrestling with those in the community unwilling to support the greater good, our island’s inhabitants have all agreed to make sacrifices for the sake of everyone and that is a situation of which we should be immensely proud.

There are plenty of instances I could give at this point about Chamber’s efforts during the past few weeks to play a full and essential role in supporting our business community but the main message now is that we

have been here for more than 200 years and WILL be here to help when business – and all of the individuals within those – need our help to get Guernsey back on its feet.

Barrie Baxter, President