Island could be ‘staycation’ choice after the pandemic

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Visit Jersey chief executive Keith Beecham said that while businesses would need to follow the medical and scientific advice of the government first and foremost, planning needed to start for the Island’s economic recovery.

His comments come as Matt Bougourd, associate director at HR advisers Law At Work, called on firms to start putting together ‘practical measures’ in preparation for the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Chief Minister John Le Fondré is due to make an announcement this week on the Island’s lockdown exit strategy, but at this stage he has not revealed when or how restrictions on travel to the Island may be removed.

Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country was at the ‘maximum risk’ but was beginning to see a recovery to ‘turn the tide’ on the pandemic.

Mr Beecham said that Visit Jersey approved an amended business plan in response to the Covid-19 crisis last week and that continuing to promote Jersey as an attractive holiday destination in the UK and Europe was a key part of their strategy.

He added that while the Island’s medical advice would take precedence and determine when travel restrictions could be lifted, he believed Jersey could be an attractive destination post-crisis.

‘Jersey has a lot of strengths which will appeal in the post-Covid-19 market. We are very open and spacious, with very clean beaches and have very strong public services,’ he said.

‘I think these are the sorts of things that people will be looking for post-crisis rather than going for a break in a crowded city.’

He added that he would like it to be a priority for the Island to be accessible for UK tourists, as well as from the other Channel Islands, when the outbreak subsides.

‘We will want to make sure that we remain part of the UK’s travel area post-crisis because the “staycation” market is going to be bigger and we want to be part of that,’ he said.

‘We will also be looking within the Channel Islands for more opportunities. It might be a time when people want to visit our sister islands more and catch up with friends and relatives.’

Mr Bougourd said that although a date had not yet been announced for lifting lockdown restrictions in the Island, businesses needed to start preparing now for reopening.

‘Although there are still at least two weeks of lockdown to go before we expect to see any changes, many are looking ahead to when the Island can begin the process of reoccupying workplaces and returning to normal,’ he said.

‘We will be referring to the advice given by the Government of Jersey, but employers need to start thinking about putting risk assessments and control measures in place to protect their staff before they open the doors.

‘Practical measures such as testing all essential power supplies, emergency alarm systems, evacuation systems, and carrying out water flushing and water temperature checks of hot-water-storage cylinders and tanks should be carried out.

‘Above all, they must ensure any remaining government controls can be complied with.’

Law At Work has produced an advisory checklist for businesses preparing to come out of lockdown.

Last week, Health Minister Richard Renouf announced a two-week extension of his stay-at-home order, which is due to expire on 11 May.

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