British & Irish Lions: Warren Gatland ate with politicians

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Warren GatlandImage source, Reuters
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The British and Irish Lions coach was allowed to visit the island to evaluate facilities

Rugby boss Warren Gatland had two meals with island representatives during his trip to Guernsey, it has emerged.

The States had previously said the trip was "under very tight restrictions" and the British & Irish Lions coach was served meals in his hotel room.

Gatland was given special dispensation to forgo Guernsey's strict quarantine rules which normally require anyone arriving to self-isolate for two weeks.

He was there to consider the island for a training camp.

A spokesman for the States of Guernsey revealed Gatland ate with politicians, civil servants and sports representatives.

The visit over Easter has proved controversial in the island, which currently operates strict border controls, with everyone entering required to self-isolate for three weeks unless they test negative on day one and 13 after arrival.

Gatland's visit has caused "division" and "a feeling of them and us" in the island, according to Gavin St Pier, former Chief Minister of Guernsey.

The decision to allow the trip was taken after States chief executive Paul Whitfield took advice from Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health, about whether the visit could be done safely.

Dr Brink approved a variation on the self-isolation order, where Gatland was tested daily for coronavirus and his activities were limited to "a few defined locations", the States said.

Private dining room

Gatland met with Mr Whitfield, Dr Brink and Deputy Peter Ferbrache to discuss public health measures that might be in place should the Lions decide to visit.

The first meeting was in a large room where sandwiches were served, social distancing was observed and hand sanitiser was available, the States said.

A second meal took place in a private dining room at the hotel he was staying in, which included local sports representatives and the chief executive to discuss possible logistics.

Gatland tested negative on the day of and following this meeting and therefore posed "no public health risk", the States added.

A spokesman explained varying self-isolation requirements for some individuals was "not uncommon", adding about 50 variations on compassionate grounds had been granted over the last two weeks.

The visit was designed to allow the coach to evaluate facilities for a possible training base before the Lions' summer tour to South Africa.

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