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Covid cluster cancels retail reopening

Covid cluster cancels retail reopening

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Covid cluster cancels retail reopening

Tuesday 26 January 2021

The reopening of non-essential retail will no longer be going ahead tomorrow after a covid cluster arising from "poor behaviour" was discovered in the sector, including staff working without PPE and while symptomatic.

The Government has now decided to push back the opening, which also included indoor recreation venues like museums and galleries, by at least one week.

The company that was non-compliant has not been named, and the number of cases associated with its activities remains unclear. Express has asked the Government for comments on both matters and is awaiting a reply.

“The cluster has appeared in the supply chain for the retail sector and seems to have spread through staff working in transport and deliveries. This means it could affect multiple sites including non-essential retail outlets. Public health and medical colleagues will spend the next few days testing and tracing all possible contacts," the Health Minister explained in a statement.

"This cluster is a result of poor behaviour and a lack of adherence to the most basic of hygiene guidelines, with some staff working while symptomatic. They were found not to be wearing PPE, and now we must trace around 200 possible direct contacts.

"It is exactly this sort of behaviour that will prevent us from reconnecting our island community."


Pictured: The Health Minister said the cases were the result of "poor behaviour and a lack of adherence to the most basic of hygiene guidelines". Some staff were working while symptomatic.

He continued: "Officials, including the Chair of STAC, worked late into the night and presented options to Ministers this morning. We have decided to delay the reopening of all non-essential retail and indoor recreation venues for a minimum of 7 days. Close contact services will then open a week later.  

"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. We have already contact traced many of the potential contacts and will do more as each hour goes by.

"That is our system's strength and I thank teams from the helpline, contact tracing and laboratory for working so hard to keep it going. They have mobilised quickly and by Friday we should know exactly where we stand. I will make a further public announcement when we have received and analysed that information.

"Deep cleaning takes place regularly in essential stores and mask-wearing and good hygiene means that there is no heightened risk to the public from this cluster."

The Health Minister also went on to emphasise that the island "will not be locking down" in response to the cluster.


Pictured: Deputy Renouf maintained the island will not be going into lockdown.

"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.

"Covid-19 is an awful disease. It has taken Islanders from us who should not have died at this time. It must be taken seriously by everyone. But it is also just one of many challenges we face. We are balancing its harm against many other harms. And while I know people are anxious about covid-19 cases, as Health and Social Services Minister I care deeply about all the other health harms that a lockdown would bring, many of which would disproportionately affect Islanders on lower incomes.

"Our vaccination programme is continuing at pace and is our pathway to greater freedoms. But we must protect it. As such, today's announcement is regrettable but unavoidable."

Jersey Heritage has since confirmed that its visitor attractions will no longer be opening as planned in response to the news.

A spokesperson said: "Due to the Government’s announcement today that changes to official restrictions to allow indoor visitor attractions to open to the public are being postponed, indoor Jersey Heritage visitor sites - including Jersey Museum and Art Gallery, and Jersey Archive - will no longer be reopening from tomorrow, as planned."

For more information about the opening of outside areas at sites, such as Mont Orgueil and La Hougue Bie, islanders can click here.

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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.

Posted by GillianJourneaux39 on
Why on earth are these companies and staff NOT named and shamed and prosecuted. Also why punish the companies that have adhered to the rules by enforcing a blanket ban, surely the one's who adhere could still open.?
Posted by Penny Cornick on
Can’t believe it , just when we were doing so well . I hope that heavy fines will be imposed to stop this sort of irresponsible and selfish behaviour .
Posted by Michel Birrell on
Those responsible should be named and shamed and face a substantial fine to deter others. They appear to have been putting profit before health and safety. They are going to cost businesses even more losses and the government too in having to further support non essential retail.
Posted by Donal Dolo on
these people should be charged ruining it for everyone
Well said Deputy Renouf. While I am gutted not to be opening for another week. I am pleased to see transparency about bad behaviour being recognised and stated. Peer pressure to do the right thing is vital and far more democratic than having to face mandatory actions ! Some businesses could obviously do with some support in enforcing workplace behaviours !
Posted by Private Individual on
The people complaining are the ones making it impossible for the community to reopen businesses.

Why is the company not being named so we can steer well clear of it?

This is costing people their jobs and financial future, those responsible should be heavily fined and jailed for this blatant breach.
Posted by John Carlow on
As above these business should have some form of recrimination, obviously fining them is not really responsible as the fines may result in staff being unemployed.
How about allowing businesses who have followed the correct guidelines to reopen and keep the offenders closed for longer!!
Posted by Jon Jon on
Stop hiding and name this company....presume they will be fined heavily.

By not disclosing the name ,which I might add you can’t keep anything secret in this sland,it stops people’s minds jumping to conclusions.A few hours time it will be well known which company.
Posted by Richard Lock on
Certain individuals are flaunting the Covid rules and regulations with impunity. They are reckless and without scruple. But they simply don’t care- they have calculated that they can get away with it. The latest situation is a challenge to the Government to demonstrate that they can’t. Time to hit transgressors in the pocket and for their identities to be made public.
Posted by Pamela Clarke on
Name, shame and heavy fines. If people get away with behaving irresponsibility it will happen again and again. A large fine is a deterrent, and the delivery company should sack the staff responsible.
Posted by Sheila Young on
It's good to see so many people having their say. It's a pity JEP online does not seem to allow this. People should be encouraged to express their opinions.
Posted by Christopher Bennett on
The unwillingness of our political leaders to name transgressors is astounding. Can we reach any conclusion than that they all went to school together?
It is management that is responsible for this and similar situations. Staff with symptoms will only have been at work because of fear of losing their jobs. I would not be surprised to learn that the staff were not issued with masks by the employer. The directors need to be held responsible for the conduct of the business of which they should have control.
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