El Tico has blasted Covid Enforcement Officers for instructing them to remove several picnic tables so customers couldn’t sit near each other while enjoying a takeaway – despite islanders being able to do so on a public bench or sea wall just metres away.
Following a visit last week, the St. Ouen beach cantina wrote on Facebook: “When we were closed by Government, we did exactly as we were told to do and closed off our outside terrace area, but we left 4 picnic tables on the gravel area above the sea wall, which were at least 5 metres apart, so that our fabulous customers could enjoy a takeaway coffee, take in the view and simply breathe...
"We didn’t service these 4 tables in any way - no orders, nothing at all, they were simply there for a bit of mental well-being.
“But they need to go. You can’t buy a takeaway and sit at them, it’s not allowed, but apparently it’s ok to sit on the rocks, or even the sea wall with the risk of falling off. It’s ok to sit on any other park bench along the coast, or along the pathways, or in the town parks and even in the Royal Square. But our 4 picnic tables are a no no.
“Has it all gone a bit potty?”
Hundreds of islanders appeared to agree with the sentiment, with more than 700 ‘liking’ or reacting with shock or anger at the post, and more than 200 commenting their disbelief at the situation.
“Totally agree with you. St B’s bay has loads of benches so what is the difference between sitting on one of those and yours?” one commenter queried, to which another replied: “Different parish, ma love. Can’t have joined up thinking, can we?”
“The blind leading the stupid,” another said.
Over the weekend, Express spotted dozens of islanders sitting on public benches and on the sea wall and beach to eat takeaway meals from establishments in the area – many of whom were in groups and not maintaining a 2m distance.
A Government spokesperson commented: "A Health and Safety Inspector and a States of Jersey Police Officer visited hospitality establishments along St. Ouen's Bay on Friday, 8 January.
"The visits were made as a result of concerns raised about gatherings in alfresco dining areas.
"It is against the Covid-19 (Workplace Restrictions) Order 2020, for customers to consume food or beverages on the premises of hospitality establishments, which include outdoor areas.
"Customers are able to wait for their orders in alfresco areas but then they must take away their orders to consume off the premises.
"The visits aimed to raise greater awareness of the legal requirements and provide guidance on steps that can be taken to ensure ongoing adherence of the law, to protect the public from increased risks of spreading covid-19."
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