Ministers have agreed to continue the gradual relaxation of Covid measures in controlled settings. This in view of the low number of daily positive cases and follows advice from the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC).
As part of the Government’s reconnection programme, the controlled settings of schools, non-essential retail and close-contact services have all now reopened, with ongoing low-test positivity rate across the Island. Competent Authority Ministers have, therefore, approved the following further relaxations:
From Wednesday 17 February:
- Faith groups can meet for worship in groups of up to 40 people
- Controlled outdoor sports gatherings can restart for up to 35 under-18-year olds
From Monday 22 February:
- Food and drink premises can open where they can maintain 2 metre distancing between people seated at adjacent tables, and with 2 metres between different groups of people seated at the same table; a maximum of 10 people per table, which can be made up of members of different households; with last orders at 10pm, and with masks worn at all times except for when eating and drinking.
- Staff working in hospitality are being offered a free Covid-19 test and are asked to call the helpline this weekend to book: 0800 735 5566
From Monday 8 March:
- Controlled outdoor sports gatherings can restart for up to 35 over-18-year olds
- The uncontrolled setting of household gatherings remains a high-risk activity due to the way Covid-19 spreads (prolonged exposure, indoors, without guarantees of temperature checks, cleaning, or contact tracing). This continues to be against Government guidance.
- The Gatherings order will remain at 10 people (This means it is illegal to congregate with more than 10 people unless engaged in worship, weddings, funerals or children's outdoor sport). This order will be further amended for adult outdoor sport on Monday 8th March
- Indoor sports and activities will remain closed as it is difficult to classify different activities fairly as low, medium or high intensity. Permitted children’s activities are exempt from this guidance. Work is ongoing with the sector to define which aspects will be safest to open first
- Pubs that do not serve meals must remain closed
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “Members of STAC have been clear that the current levels of infection in the Island show that it is safe for us to continue our programme of reopening group activities, carefully and with mitigation measures in place.
“To date, the reconnection policy has proceeded without spikes in case rates or positivity. The 14-day rate is now below 50, which puts Jersey in the ECDC Amber Zone, and test positivity for all age groups is below 1%.
“STAC have advised us that COVID cases, and test positivity, are now low enough to proceed with reconnection more quickly. STAC have also emphasised the impact of COVID restrictions on mental health and wellbeing, and we don’t want to continue with these measures for any longer than necessary.
“Risks remain though, which is why we are not opening up too quickly, and why we are not yet relaxing our travel arrivals policy. We are still seeing high rates of COVID in the UK and other jurisdictions, our vaccination programme for the most vulnerable won’t be complete until the end of March, and the ‘Kent’ variant has been identified in Jersey, which increases the risk of faster spread
“The expert research and advice provided by members of STAC is very important to our response to COVID, and we thank them for their work.”
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: “We are pleased to resume our gradual and considered reopening of lower-risk activities. We are putting various mitigation measures in place, including a recommendation that hospitality staff undergo PCR workforce testing before reopening, and then have regular Lateral Flow tests as a further layer of protection once venues are open.
“Waiting until Monday 22 February to reopen hospitality will give the businesses time to prepare for the public health requirements they will have to meet and will give us time to discuss their concerns and support them as they prepare to reopen.
“While the relaxation of public heath measures creates some risk, there are significant wellbeing benefits to reconnecting some of the activities we have all been missing. Officer advice on the balance of harms has convinced us that the reconnection we are announcing today is the best way forward for our community.
“Islanders should continue to respect physical distancing restrictions and continue to take care to mix with only a very limited number of people. It is only by making small, gradual changes that we can manage a slow, safe return to normality.”
Minister for Economic Development, Senator Lyndon Farnham, said: “The re-opening of many hospitality venues means that it will be easier for families and friends to gather in a controlled environment. I’m sure it will also be welcome news to our hospitality industry, who will be able to welcome Islanders, while taking additional measures to protect both customers and staff.”
Government of Jersey News Release.