Jersey only ‘at half-time’ in getting through Covid-19

JERSEY is only ‘at half-time’ in terms of getting through the Covid-19 pandemic and measures such as the closure of Broad Street to traffic will remain in place for months, the Chief Minister has said.

Chief Minister John Le Fondré (29164866)
Chief Minister John Le Fondré (29164866)

During States questions Deputy Jeremy Maçon asked Senator John Le Fondré to state when the town road, which was shut to allow physical distancing for pedestrians, would be reopened and which officers had been behind the decision to close it.

In response, the Senator said: ‘Let’s be very, very clear – we are not yet back to normal and we are unlikely to be back to normal for many months.

‘We do remain in a good position, but to use a positive football analogy, we are now at half-time and we have the next half to play.

‘The reason I use that analogy is that we must continue to remind the public that we still need to take care. We still need to maintain the basic hygiene measures we’ve been talking about for months.

‘And also that the advice categorically remains that physical distancing continues to be recommended as a minimum of one metre with two metres wherever possible.’

A number of businesses have said that the closure of Broad Street, which has resulted in the loss of a bus stop, is deterring people from coming into town at a time when retailers are already struggling.

But the Senator said that advice to close the street had come from the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, which advises the ministers on Covid policy.

He added that he had anecdotally received ‘positive feedback’ on the closure of Broad Street.

‘What is referred to as Broad Street is not just the area outside the post office,’ he said.

‘It goes all the way up to the crapaud at Charing Cross and then to York Street towards the Town Hall. There are a variety of pinch points and it’s all about giving people space and confidence.’

Later during the sitting, St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft asked whether there had been any progress with trialling an extension to the number 19 bus service around Library Place to help mitigate the closure of Broad Street.

Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis said that to do so would cost £109,000 per year and require an extra bus and driver.

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