Final stage of Covid reconnection roadmap delayed

JERSEY'S freedom date for the final lifting of pandemic restrictions has been delayed by a week.

Chief Minister John Le Fondré
Chief Minister John Le Fondré

The move comes as nightclubs and event organisers were preparing for full reopening and the permittance of crowds which was due to happen on Monday and was set to mark the final stage of the Island's reconnection roadmap.

And while some restrictions will be lifted as planned on Monday – including the legal requirement for mask wearing to be removed – nightclubs will have to wait at least a further week before reopening.

Ministers have said that restrictions on numbers of guests allowed to attend a wedding or civil partnership ceremony will be lifted on Monday and that while mask wearing will still be recommended in healthcare settings and where physical distancing is difficult to achieve, the requirement for masks will be removed. The exceptions to this will be on public transport, in the bus station and at the ports where masks will still be required by law.

Current plans are that limits on gatherings in private homes and gardens will be lifted on Monday 21 June along with the reopening of nightclubs and allowing standing drinking.

Ministers said that the delay was taken because of the emergence of ten to 11 active Covid-19 cases who have attended a number of private parties and visited hospitality venues. They hope that the delay will allow for further contact tracing of these cases, reduce the risk of onward transmission in hospitality venues and prevent the need to reintroduce restrictions further down the line.

The government confirmed that there are currently 17 active cases in the Island – an increase of three on the previous day. One was identified through inbound travel while the other two were identified through contact tracing.

Chief Minister John Le Fondré said: 'We are acutely aware that this will be a disappointment to Islanders and businesses who had planned for full reconnection this coming Monday. We recognise this will be particularly difficult for nightclubs who have long anticipated reopening after 18 months of closure. However, given ongoing contact tracing within hospitality settings, it is appropriate that we do not open nightclubs at this stage.'

Health Minister Richard Renouf added that it is 'critical' that travellers to Jersey remain vigilant and 'follow the latest public health guidance, including on isolation'.

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