Jersey’s Roadmap for Reconnection

On March 5, 2021, in General, Health, Society, The Economy, by Lyndon-Farnham

Ministers have outlined the next stages of their plan to reconnect Islanders by relaxing more of the existing Covid measures. This decision takes into account the low number of daily positive cases, as well as advice from public health officials and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC).

Ministers have already announced that controlled outdoor sports gatherings can restart for up to 35 over-18-year olds from Monday 8 March, and children aged five and under are exempt when counting the number of people allowed to gather together.

Competent Authority Ministers have now approved the following tentative stages of further relaxation, all of which will depend on positive cases remaining low and updated advice from medics and health care officials:

From Monday 15 March – stage 4

– Soft play facilities will open for groups of up to ten children

– A maximum of ten people will be able to meet in each other’s homes and gardens

– singing, playing woodwind and brass instruments in groups of ten indoors will be permitted

– Gyms can reopen and indoor sports activities like swimming can resume – guidance will be published before this date to support the sector with safe reopening

From Monday 12 April – stage 5

– outdoor gathering limit will increase to 20 people

– Islanders can start to return to their workplaces, with 2-metre distancing and other mitigations still in place

– close contact sports, including martial arts and rugby, can resume indoors and outdoors

– more spectators will be able to attend sporting events

– alcoholic drinks-only table service will resume for the hospitality sector

From Monday 10 May – stage 6

– Islanders will be able to meet, indoors or outdoors, in groups of up to 20.

– wedding parties and wakes of up to 40 people will be permitted.

– The limit on indoor singing, and the playing of brass and woodwind instruments, will be raised to 20, with an audience of up to 40.

– Spas and jacuzzis will be able to reopen.

– Guidance on working from home will be fully lifted, and physical distancing requirements will reduce to one metre.

– the physical distancing order will be discontinued – to be replaced with guidance.

From Monday 14 June – stage 7

– Places of worship will be able to welcome back their full congregations.

– Theatres, auditoriums and cinemas will open

– nightclubs will reopen, live music and dancing will be permitted, alongside standing drinks service

– Large events will be permitted, subject to metrics and risk assessment. The exact size and scope of these events will be determined in a few weeks, once more data on our vaccination programme is available.

At Stage 7 there will be a thorough review of all COVID-19 guidance and legislation, to ensure it remains proportionate to the risk. Some essential guidance may continue, to ensure Islanders remain safe and to prevent any resurgence of COVID.

The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “Public health officials and STAC have spent the last two weeks developing proposals for a detailed reconnection plan, based on our vaccination and active case figures. We want this cautious return to normality to be a one-way route to regaining our freedoms. We do not want to reimpose restrictions, so it’s important that we leave enough time in between each stage of reconnection for STAC to be content that it is safe and appropriate to move forward.

“The threat from COVID-19, despite our world leading vaccination programme, has not gone away. But Islanders should congratulate themselves on getting us to such a good position and protecting our most vulnerable from the physical harms of the virus. The end is in sight, but we cannot ignore the guidance that is still in place. We are moving away from these restrictions gradually and carefully, and I would like to urge Islanders to remain careful so we can continue to make good progress.”

The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: “I am sure Islanders will welcome these plans to reopen our community. I want us to be able to

reconnect and resume normal life as soon as possible, but it is critical that we follow the clear stages set out in these plans.

While the risk from household mixing remains high, we recognise the wellbeing needs of Islanders. When mixing with others in homes and gardens it is safer to meet the same small group of people, rather than many different people. We will be assessing the impact of vaccination and the number of positive cases as we approach each new date on the roadmap.

“Our vaccination rollout is moving ahead at pace, and we have now delivered a first dose to more than thirty thousand Islanders. These figures represent a comprehensive rollout to some of our Island’s most vulnerable people and I want to thank everyone in the vaccination programme for their determined effort bringing us to this point. “We are now reviewing the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s recommendations for vaccinating people under 50 years old, to help inform the next stage of Jersey’s vaccine roll out. We will be announcing our plans for this next stage in the coming weeks.”

The Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Economic Development, Senator Lyndon Farnham, said: “I am pleased that we can continue our return to normality by announcing these further relaxations of our existing restrictions. But these dates are a guide. They will be subject to constant review by the medics and, if we are still finding few or no cases with a high rate of testing, we will consider bringing things forward. Conversely, if our situation deteriorates due to clusters or outbreaks, we will delay things.

“So it is clear that we must continue to adhere to the guidelines as we move through the reconnection stages, or we risk moving backwards. It is critical that everyone maintains the compliance that has been evident as we reopened hospitality. This is the only way to ensure the success of our vaccination programme, and a permanent return to normality.”

Plans for reconnecting the Island through the Safer Travel Policy, and the reintroduction of a traffic light system for travellers arriving in Jersey, are due to be considered by the Council of Ministers. An update on the border policy will be announced in the coming weeks.

Full details here:

Deputy Chief Minister – Press conference address 5th March 2021

The reconnection roadmap, agreed by ministers yesterday, sets out the next four stages of progress and how we will return our community to normality as we finally beat the pandemic and head safely towards the summer. 

I am going to run through the dates and reconnection activities, but before I do I want to be clear that these are the indicative dates for our reconnection.

They will be subject to constant review by our scientific and technical advisors and we will consider bringing things forward should our situation stay as good as it is now, with high levels of testing finding few or no cases week in and week out.

The opposite is also true – if our situation deteriorates due to clusters or outbreaks, this could delay the reconnection. However, I am more than optimistic that these dates will hold and potentially improve but we need to stick to the rules through the final stages of the pandemic.

I know many of you are wanting to travel freely again to and from Jersey and we are carefully considering plans for reconnecting our Island internationally through our Safer Travel Policy, and the reintroduction of our traffic light system for travellers arriving in Jersey.

These plans are still under careful consideration by the Council of Ministers and subsequently will not feature in the plan I will be setting out today. 

Our borders are our key defence against the spread of the virus so it is important that we take the time to ensure we make the very best decision and, to that end, we will be providing an update on our safer travel and border policy next week or the early in the week after.

Moving now to our on-island reconnection plans;

On Monday 15th March we will move to Stage 4 of our roadmap

From that date gyms will be allowed to reopen and indoor sporting activities including changing rooms and swimming can also resume.

This will be under guidance which we will share in advance with relevant sporting sectors.  

Islanders will once again be able to meet in each other’s homes, up to a maximum of ten people at any one time.  

Soft play facilities will open for groups of up to ten children. 

And singing and playing woodwind and brass instruments in groups of ten indoors will also be permitted. 

We will enter Stage 5 on Monday 12th April

From that date islanders will be able to return to workplaces with some mitigations and physical distancing still in place.

The outdoor gatherings limit will be raised to 20 with up to 40 for outdoor sports spectators.

Close contact sports, including martial arts and rugby, can resume indoors and outdoors.

And the drinks-only table service can resume in hospitality settings. 

Stage 6 of reconnection will commence on Monday 10th May.

From that date physical distancing will reduce to one meter and the physical distancing order will be discontinued and replaced with guidance.

Working from home guidance will be lifted altogether.

Islanders will be able to meet, indoors or outdoors, in groups of up to 20. 

The limit on indoor singing, and the playing of brass and woodwind instruments, will be raised to 20, with an audience of up to 20. 

Wedding and wedding receptions of up to 40 people can take place.

Wakes will also be permitted for up to 40 people.

Finally, we will enter Stage 7 of our reconnection plan from Monday 14th June. 

At this stage, physical distancing will end, and large events will be allowed.

Nightclubs will reopen for the first time in over a year, and live music and dancing will be permitted, alongside standing drinks service and 

Theatres, auditoriums and cinemas can be fully reopened

At this stage we will also undertake a thorough review of all COVID-19 guidance and legislation.  

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the business support packages currently in place, these include:

  • The Co-Funded Payroll scheme
  • Th Visitor Accommodation Support Scheme
  • The Visitor Attractions and Events Scheme
  • The Fixed Costs Support Scheme.
  • The Business Disruption Loan Guarantee scheme and
  • Social Security and GST deferrals

All these support packages are under constant review and will remain in place to protect jobs and businesses through the transition period and

I will be providing regular business support updates as we progress through the reconnection roadmap.

I have absolute confidence that we can meet the key dates set out today. 

This is because our community has shown fortitude and commitment throughout the pandemic and I know we all want to return to normality just as soon as it is safe to do so.

Before I hand over to the Health Minister, I want to pay tribute to all those who have been part of our excellent vaccination programme. 

Not just the frontline workers who are diligently and efficiently delivering the vaccinations but also to all of you who are participating in the programme to protect yourselves and others.

Without the vaccination programme we would not be able to return to normality within the timescale and framework presented to you today.

Thank you all.

I will now hand over to Richard who will provide an update on the vaccination programme, and the success we are seeing in providing ongoing protection for our most vulnerable Islanders. 

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