The Island is due to progress to Level 2 of its Covid-19 ‘Safe Exit Framework’ on Friday 12 June and it is understood that members of the States’ Health Department are pondering changes to elements which relate to competitive recreational sport.
The Government of Jersey’s current exit strategy restricts gatherings to a maximum of ten people at Level 2 and does not permit a return to ‘sports events’ until Level 1 has been reached. However, the cricket community in particular have argued that their activity lends itself to a much earlier resumption.
Farmers Cricket Club recently sent a nine-page document to ministers outlining their ideas for a safe return to play at adult level, while the Jersey Cricket Board submitted their own suggestions for post-Covid cricket, covering all age levels. And their efforts appear to have paid off, as from this weekend it is believed that groups of up to 40 will be permitted to meet for organised sporting events. Contact sport will remain sidelined, though, as strict physical distancing measures will remain in place.
A return could well open the door to offers from digital broadcasters hoping to promote live sport – as experienced by Guernsey last weekend after they became the first place in the British Isles to stage post-Covid cricket.
Former Island Senator Jim Perchard – the man behind Farmers Field cricket ground in St Martin – said: ‘It’s important that you don’t have huge gatherings but under Level 2 the cinema could open, and theatres, churches and Jersey Bowl as well. We’re asking if 13 people can stand on a cricket field that’s five acres big, with proper hygiene measures in place, while agreeing not to go within two metres of each other. They would sanitize the ball between every over and we’d ask the players to sanitize their hands every ten overs. There will be no changing room, no clubhouse ... they will arrive and leave dressed in their kit.
‘For our young people to be able to get out and play cricket would be marvellous. They have all been very frustrated after a whole winter of training and there will be benefits all-round after being cooped up for so long.’
Full report in Monday's JEP.