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Covid-19: Jersey sets 'cautious' date for reopening shops

Provisional dates for shops and hairdressers to reopen have been announced by the Government of Jersey.

Ministers identified 27 January as the probable date for non-essential retail to resume, while close contact services could reopen on 3 February.

The decision was taken as part of a "cautious approach" to lifting Covid-19 restrictions, the government said. However, it confirmed these dates "remain subject to continued review of positive case numbers". The dates were reached after scientific and medical experts met on Monday to examine the island's data, with a specific focus on the impact of the Christmas period and the reopening of schools, and presented their findings to ministers.

'Dangerous and premature'

Hospitality businesses were closed in early December in response to rising Covid cases, while non-essential retail followed on Christmas eve, with the restrictions extended on 6 January.

On Thursday the government announced businesses affected by public health measures would be able to claim a fixed monthly sum, up to a maximum of £10,000, based on their rateable value.

The amount of money offered to businesses would also depend on whether they were forcibly closed, the government said. Active coronavirus cases have fallen to 187 on Thursday, from a peak of more than 1,000 in late December. The two week average of cases has fallen to 173.5 per 100,000.

Professor Mark Harris, a virologist from the University of Leeds, said Jersey's reduction in Covid-19 cases numbers was "impressive" and went against the trends being seen in the UK.

However he added: "200 positives could become 1,000 very quickly" when restrictions are relaxed.


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