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Government to create town centre ‘mask zone’

Government to create town centre ‘mask zone’

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Government to create town centre ‘mask zone’

Tuesday 26 January 2021


As well as having to wear a mask inside, shoppers will be encouraged to keep it on outside of shops as well, when outlets deemed as 'non-essential' reopen on Wednesday.

The Government wants to create a ‘mask zone’ in St. Helier from the moment shoppers come into town, to when they leave.

While there are no new measures being introduced to accompany the opening of many shops for the first time since Christmas Eve, the Government is updating and reinforcing its guidance, both to customers and businesses.

By advising that people keep their mask on all the time, it is hoped that the risk of transmission will reduce by people not repeatedly touching it as they take it on and off.

“We’ve been careful to make sure that any guidance we give is not only evidence-based but also doable in practice,” said Martin Knight, the Government’s Head of Public Policy. 

“Masks have proven to be effective barriers but only when they are worn, so we want to encourage shoppers to wear one from the time they leave their cars, and when they might be queuing outside, rather than just when they are inside.”

air conditioning unit.jpg

Pictured: Businesses are being reminded to ventilate their shops and make sure that any artificial ventilation is working properly.

Mr Knight was speaking at a briefing for retailers organised by the Chamber of Commerce, before Wednesday’s reopening of non-essential businesses.

In particular, the Government wants to encourage businesses to carry out a covid risk assessment before opening their doors tomorrow.

This will include:

  • making sure they are using consistent workforce groups and ensuring that anyone with covid symptoms doesn’t come to work;
  • running water through the pipes if the shop has been empty since Christmas Eve;
  • making sure staff are aware of all the measures;
  • encouraging as many staff as possible to be tested for covid as part of the workforce screening programme;
  • regularly cleaning touchpoints and shared equipment;
  • making sure staff keep at least 2m distance from each during breaks, including for a vape or cigarette break outside;
  • making sure the shop is adequately ventilated;
  • ensuring that any air conditioning units are working properly;
  • and making sure that customers move freely through the shop and there are no pinch points.

The Government has produced a ‘Safe Opening Checklist’ to help retailers prepare for reopening.

It is also stressing that staff can book a covid test now, even if they haven’t completed the eight-week cycle that was established for ‘Group C’ - which includes retail and a host of other professions - when workforce testing was expanded in November.

Museums and other indoor visitor attractions are also opening tomorrow, while ‘close contact services’ such as hairdressers and beauticians will be allowed to open next Wednesday 3 February.

This second stage of ‘reconnection’, which followed the opening of schools on 11 January, will be followed by a three-week gap, with ‘stage 3’ activities and businesses – which include low-intensity indoor activity (i.e. gyms without classes), cafés, restaurants, hotels and office-based working – considered for reopening on Wednesday 17 February, subject to favourable covid numbers.

Stage 4, which includes reopening pubs and allowing household mixing, would be considered for another three weeks after that, so potentially 10 March.

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Comments

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Posted by Private Individual on
About time, all outside activity should have to wear a mask, people are not keeping the correct distance and simply do not care.
Posted by Jon Jon on
Pure common sense !
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Already standard practice in many EU countries, lets hope it buys time until the vaccination programme is completed.
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