The government announced on Friday that a mass Covid-19 vaccination unit is due to open at Fort Regent in January. The leisure centre will be a vaccination hub for Islanders, except for care home residents and front-line medical staff.
As a result, the following email was sent by the government to the affected Fort users:
‘As part of Jersey’s response to Covid-19, Fort Regent’s Queen’s Hall ground floor is to be used as a vaccine centre, and will therefore not be available for any other use from Monday 7 December.
All other areas of Fort Regent continue to be open, including the balcony around the rotunda. Alternative venues for almost all sports are available, and the clubs and associations which regularly use Queen’s Hall have been contacted and, in the majority of cases, given alternative arrangements.’
Regent Gymnastics Club are currently the only club operating on the ground floor of the Queen’s Hall and head coach Julia Falle said the move into Arena B of the Gloucester Hall was nothing new to them.
‘It is not a big deal, as we usually move around this time of the year in order to make space for the ice skating rink.’
‘We have a lot of equipment to move and we are going to be cancelling all classes this coming Thursday and Friday to allow enough time to make the transition.’
No date has been set for the completion of the vaccination programme and Falle has been told she should not expect to be able to use the Queen’s Hall again until the second half of 2021.
While Falle has no issue with the move, she raised concerns about the flow of people entering the Fort to be vaccinated.
‘Lots of people are going to be coming from the car park and into the Fort to get vaccinated. At the same time we have lots of parents and children who will be coming to our classes,’ she said.
‘We want our members to feel as comfortable as possible and it would be beneficial if they are given different access points to those coming up here to be vaccinated.’
The club’s move could have a knock-on effect to others who usually rent out Arena B of the Gloucester Hall, which is frequently used for indoor cricket, five-a-side and badminton.
Jersey Cricket’s Monday evening indoor league, which usually operates in both Gloucester Hall arenas, will have to be relocated a result of the gymnastics move into the hall.
The government said that the Sport Division was working with Jersey Cricket to see if the format can be changed so that they can be accommodated in one hall, as they are currently unable to find an alternative space for them.
Boxinbusiness and Blood Fitness operate on the balconies of the Queen’s Hall but they are not being asked to move and will operate as normal.