Pub owners tell patrons: ‘Continue to stick to Covid-19 rules’

OWNERS of local pubs and bars are encouraging Islanders to continue following Covid rules after a ‘fairly smooth’ reopening of drinks-only service last weekend – which also saw a ‘large-scale’ party take place near Grève de Lecq.

Picture: JON GUEGAN. (30567610)
Picture: JON GUEGAN. (30567610)

The Easter bank holiday weekend saw a further relaxation of Covid restrictions as part of the government’s reconnection roadmap, with drinks-only service becoming available for the first time since December.

Detective Chief Inspector Craig Jackson said that the long weekend went ‘fairly smoothly’, but that officers were investigating a large party in Grève de Lecq on Saturday night.

One man in his 20s was arrested and is currently on bail, while another was arrested and subsequently charged for being drunk and disorderly.

‘From a policing perspective we didn’t experience a spike in crime numbers in correlation with the relaxation of Covid laws and guidance,’ he said. ‘We are particularly grateful to licensed premises that were extremely compliant in adhering to the regulations in place for both their staff and customers.’

Two arrests were also made for drunk and disorderly behaviour in town. Those alleged incidents are being addressed through parish hall inquiries.

There are currently six known active cases of Covid-19 in the Island.

Tomasz Tura and Elwira Gniatek, who co-own the Blue Note Bar in Broad Street, said that the venue had a ‘really good weekend’ without any issues – although the physical-distancing requirements had caused them to turn some customers away.

‘Most of our regulars came back and we got to see people who we haven’t seen for months,’ said Mr Tura. ‘The biggest headache at the moment is that, because the restrictions are still in place, we’ve been turning people away pretty much all day every day from Friday to Sunday due to the lack of space.

‘All in all though, very positive feedback from the first four days and we hope that this trend will continue from now on.’

Sean Murphy, who runs the Lamplighter pub, said he had experienced ‘no problems at all’ and that every customer obeyed the rules.

‘Everything was smooth. We had one or two little things [such as] people getting up without their masks,’ he said. ‘But that’s just human nature, nothing malicious. It was quieter than we thought, but I think everyone’s taking it cautiously. Every little step to get us back to normality is fantastic. I just hope everybody behaves themselves and we can go for it.’

Simon Soar, the chief executive of the Jersey Hospitality Association, said the organisation had ‘worked closely’ with its members and the authorities to make sure the sector was ready.

‘We are delighted that the States of Jersey Police did not report any incidents in hospitality venues over the weekend. It is great to see that those venues and their customers sensibly followed the guidelines and rules.

‘It was disappointing to see that there were some incidents in places where the rules are not enforced, such as in people’s homes, but it does show that Islanders can meet and enjoy themselves safely in the many hospitality settings that we have.’

He added: ‘We will continue to be vigilant as we go forward and those visiting hospitality venues begin to enjoy further freedoms.’

Caroline Maffia, strategic lead for contact tracing, monitoring and enforcement, said she was ‘very impressed’ by how businesses and their customers had handled the restrictions.

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