Curfews for premises serving alcohol, restrictions on gatherings, and masks for students in Years 11, 12 and 13 are among the new restrictions being introduced today to curb the spread of covid in the community.
The new restrictions go hand-in-hand with a new set of economic responses, including a revised Co-funded Payroll Scheme and a support initiative for hotels and other providers of visitor accommodation.
Bars and restaurants will have a new closing time of 22:00, with all clients having to leave the premises by 22:30.
The curfew, which will also apply to off-licence shops and hotels, follows a number of hospitality-linked clusters found in the local community and growing international evidence about the importance of controlling alcohol consumption in enclosed indoor spaces.
From Wednesday, students in Years 11 will be asked to wear masks at school when in combined spaces like corridors. The guidance is not yet finalised but is unlikely to apply in the classroom. Secondary school teachers will be advised to wear visors or masks while at school.
All pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13 are also due to be tested in the coming weeks.
Informal gatherings will from now on have to be kept to a maximum size of 10 people (including children), while the maximum size of formal gatherings has been slashed from 40 to 20. Restaurants will not be allowed to take table bookings for groups exceeding 10.
Funeral sizes will also be reduced from 80 to 40.
As previously announced by the Assistant Education Minister, there will now be triple testing for new arrivals on days 0, 5 and 10.
Testing will also be rolled out to care home residents and visitors, with the latter tested on a similar schedule to staff.
Given the impact the measures are likely to have on businesses, a new ‘taskforce’ of senior Government officers led by Customer and Local Services Director General Ian Burns has been established to come up with remedies – including economic ones – for specific workforce concerns in the coming days and weeks.
Incentivising care workers not to work across more than one care home will be among the problems they’ll be tasked with solving.
They’ll also be reviewing how best to protect the 3,000 high risk adults that form part of Jersey’s workforce.
Today also sees the launch of ‘Phase 3+’ of the Co-funded Payroll Scheme. While Ministers had previously decided that it should taper off, that decision has now been reversed.
Businesses and sole-traders will be able to apply for a refund of employees’ wages up to a maximum subsidy of 60% up to the value of £2,000, resulting in a subsidy of up to £1,200 per employee per month.
The subsidy provided will be linked to the detriment suffered by the business, with the percentage topped up by 10%.
Pictured: The subsidies being offered. (Government of Jersey)
The scheme aims to take into account the impact that the new restrictions are likely to have on licensed premises.
A new Visitor Accommodation Scheme has also been announced, which will provide additional support to the island’s registered accommodation providers.
The scheme is structured as a room subsidy and will provide support of up to 80% of fixed costs, paid on a monthly basis in arrears.
Covering the period of October 2020 to April 2021, the scheme will open to applicants on 23 November 2020.
Together, both schemes will cost £17m.
The measures are due to be explained in more detail by Ministers at a press conference this afternoon.
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