Covid-19: Jersey non-essential shops reopening delayed by a week

Jersey has delayed the reopening of shops by at least a week following "concern" over a cluster of Covid-19 cases in the retail sector.

It was hoped non-essential shops would reopen on Wednesday, with close contact services like hairdressers next week. The cases were found in workers who failed to adhere to the "most basic of hygiene guidelines", said Health Minister Richard Renouf. He said the reopening of "indoor leisure spaces" would also be delayed.

These include libraries, museums, performing arts venues and other spaces, according to the Government of Jersey's guidance to businesses. Deputy Renouf added some of the affected staff had been working while symptomatic and were not using PPE. The minister did not confirm exactly how many cases were found as a result. Mr Renouf explained the cases resulted from "poor behaviour" and about 200 contacts must now be traced as a result of the cluster.

He said the Government of Jersey's contact tracing teams had already traced many people who might have been exposed to coronavirus and work was continuing.

No lockdown plans

"We will throw the net wide to make sure we are picking up all contacts, and by the end of the week we will have performed all tests necessary to establish our next steps," he said.

Mr Renouf explained the government should "know where we stand" by Friday and a further public announcement would come when more information was available.

He said there were currently no plans for a lockdown because of other "health harms" it brings, which would "disproportionately affect islanders on lower incomes".

He said: "Our strategy is to control Covid-19 cases and keep figures low enough to maintain our general freedoms, while not placing a strain on our healthcare services.

"We can only maintain these freedoms with your cooperation and close observation of public health guidelines. It is clear this is not always happening.

"You must not go into other people's houses, you must maintain physical distancing and you must wear masks where appropriate," the minster added.

Shops are now due to reopen on 3 February at the earliest. The date for barbers and other close contact providers has moved to 10 February.