Jersey ‘must learn to live with Covid’ say nightclub owners

JERSEY must ‘learn to live’ with Covid-19, nightclub owners have said after the Island’s freedom date for the final lifting of pandemic restrictions was delayed by a week.

Martin Sayers. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (31023687)
Martin Sayers. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (31023687)

Nightclubs and large-scale event organisers had been preparing for the final stage of the Island’s reconnection roadmap on 14 June, which would have removed the limits on gatherings in private homes and gardens and allowed the reopening of nightclubs and standing drinking.

However, following a small spike in case numbers over the weekend, ministers announced that the restrictions are now due to be lifted on Monday 21 June instead.

Martin Sayers, owner of Vittoria nightclub, expressed frustration at the delay, saying he’d had to cancel DJ bookings and push back staffing arrangements.

He said: ‘The issue is if you open up the Island then you are going to get more infection. The big worry is that there is a little spike and they’ve delayed [the reopening], but how many times will they keep pushing it back?’

Mr Sayers called for the government to ‘tighten up’ the quarantine system and introduce more regimented policing of those in isolation – particularly travellers arriving from amber or red areas.

He added: ‘What’s the purpose of the vaccination if we are not able to enjoy the benefits of it? We have got to learn to live with it.’

J P Anquetil, owner of Rojo nightclub and organiser of the Wonky Town Festival, said: ‘It’s only a week, so it is not a disaster, but it is a bit of a pain as we were getting everything together – the sound systems, the lights etcetera.’

He added: ‘We are getting vaccinated for a reason. Unless people get seriously ill with it – which we aren’t seeing at the moment – then why are we not continuing to get back to normal?’

Jake Powell, organiser of the Good Vibrations Festival, said the event – which features a 1980s-themed surf contest, live bands and DJs, beach five-a-side football, mental-health workshops and an evening event at the Watersplash nightclub – which was scheduled to take place on 19 June in St Ouen’s Bay had now been postponed until next month.

He said: ‘If I’m honest I knew there was an influx of cases, so although it caught me off-guard a bit I do understand if there is a spike.

‘We were absolutely gutted, but it has given us more motivation to get it done – we will 100% get this event over the line in the summer.’

A new date in mid-July is now the aim, and Islanders can check the Good Vibrations social media pages for updates.

He added: ‘The lines of communication weren’t great – just ten days before the event and we heard about it over the news, which hurt, but it is what it is.

‘All of the bands were disappointed, as they have been working really hard and promoting the festival. It is a big community event and there are a lot of people involved.’

He also said the delay allowed extra time for the those involved in the ‘Mullet for Mind’ initiative, where participants are asked to raise as much money as possible with the top six fundraisers given a mullet cut by KSG Barbershop on the live stage at the festival.

James Mews, the chairman of Music in Action, said the organisation’s Liberation Celebration concert – showcasing a line-up of local musicians – could still take place on Monday 14 June at Les Quennevais School.

He said: ‘Our understanding is that we can still go ahead,’ adding that tickets had been limited to ensure physical-distancing requirements could be observed.

He added: ‘It’s going to be a long time before everyone is comfortable. It is important for people to go out to events and dip their toes in the water.

‘The evidence to date seems to be that the vaccine is working, in which case it is right that the Island starts to unlock.’

Anyone interested in purchasing tickets for the event should visit musicjersey.com/liberation-festival.

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