‘Don’t be idiots’ Gibraltar chief rages at young revellers as coronavirus threat mounts

Earlier this week, Mr Picardo unveiled tough measures aimed at keeping people safe in the face of the escalating pandemic, including requiring people over the age of 70 to stay in their homes, and the closure of pubs, nightclubs and restaurants – and he today confirmed even more draconian rules could be on their way. Just as in Florida in the US, where thousands of youngsters headed for Miami Beach for Spring break, apparently unconcerned about the risk of spreading the illness and endangering the lives of elderly people and those with health conditions, Mr Picardo said young Gibraltarians were not taking the situation seriously enough. And he warned he was prepared to use to the full force of the law if necessary to keep residents of the 34,000-strong community safe.

He said: “Young people know that we’re trying to protect some of the people most precious to them – their grandparents, some elderly parents.

“Already I’ve had reports that this weekend people are planning parties despite bars, restaurants and nightclubs being closed.

“If we started to see that large congregations of people are continuing despite there already being a ban on those congregations, we would have to act.

“We would have to act to protect you and to protect your loved ones.

“We would not want to have to act.”

Addressing his remarks directly to the Rock’s young people, Mr Picardo added: “Please for a couple of weekends, perhaps longer but for now a couple of weekends, apply to yourselves the rules of lockdown even though we are not in lockdown.

You don’t realise how important this is – we’re trying to save lives

Fabian Picardo

“Try and help us to help everybody in our community.

“If you don’t do that, you’re an idiot.”

He told the Gibraltar Chronicle he was not imposing the lockdown to be a killjoy, explaining: “You don’t realise how important this is – we’re trying to save lives, we’re not just trying to stop people from enjoying themselves.”

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Mr Picardo stressed if people do not comply with the rules, the Gibraltar Government would consider making an order to impose lockdown conditions.

He added: “If you don’t comply with those rules and you think you’re better and you think you’re funnier, you’re a fool, you’re an idiot. Don’t do it.”

Mr Picardo also said Gibraltar was edging towards further restrictions on movement, saying: “We may be closer to a potential full lockdown in Gibraltar, people need to understand that Gibraltar is at the beginning of this situation.”

As of yesterday, Gibraltar had ten cases of COVID-19, including two new ones.

Mr Picardo said: “I’m very happy to read numbers that are as low as they are but I don’t think we’ll be in that happy place for very long.

“These numbers are going to start going up and we have to ask ourselves whether we’re going to be upping the controls on movement or not.”

Should health experts advise the Government that a full lockdown was necessary, he would order one, Mr Picardo said.

He add: “It’s not a step I would ever want to take lightly.

“At the moment we don’t envisage that but we are keeping an eye on the potential to do that.”

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