Businesses across Jersey are having to temporarily shut their doors as covid compounds the challenge of recruitment.
Signs have appeared in shop windows apologising to customers, as business owners are forced to close, sometimes for days at a time.
The official covid statistics are due to be updated today but, at last count, there were 1,492 recorded cases. However, not everyone who has covid takes a PCR test.
Pitt Street café Locke’s had to shut for most of last week. Owner Drew Locke said: “We had three members off with covid. We’re only a small team of 12 so when you’re a few people down, it is impossible to stay open. We also had some people off on holiday.
“I’m lucky to have a loyal team, including students coming back from uni, but in a couple of months I will have to look for three more staff. Touchwood, that will work out, but staffing will always be an issue; anyone in hospitality will say that.”
The Good Egg at Havre des Pas was also forced to close at the weekend. Owner Kate Mills said that she had to shut for a couple days after two staff contracted covid.
She added that the business was lucky to have a good team and the business was performing well.
On the general issue of staffing, she added: “I did have to replace a middle chef recently, which I found much more difficult that when I initially recruited to the role but that is a challenge that everyone in hospitality is facing.”
A general lack of staff has forced Big J in Sand Street to close every Monday. Owner Mark Cilliers said: “I’ve been in this business for 20 years and this is the first time I’ve had to shut my doors because of a shortage of staff.
Pictured: A note informed customers that Wok Fusion is closed until further notice.
“It is mostly down to an exodus of people; Polish, Romanian and Portuguese nationals have gone home because they cannot afford to live in the island.
“We have a good record of retaining staff, with people generally staying three to five years, but that has changed. A staff member who’d been with me for five years recently moved back to Poland because it was too expensive to stay.
If you live there, or indeed in the Netherlands, Spain, Germany or other European countries, you can rent a place with friends, you can shop in Aldi or Lidl and you can travel home relatively easily.”
He added: “Even those willing to work over the summer aren’t as numerous as they were before.
“I don’t want to paint a completely negative picture – we have a student starting next week and potentially another person beginning soon – so there is some hope, but the situation has certainly changed.”
The Alliance supermarket in St. Ouen has also closed over the summer due to a lack of staff.
Covid among the States’ teams that clean the island’s roads and beaches has also prompted the Government to ask islanders to take any rubbish home with them this weekend rather than put it in public bins.
Despite the spike in cases, which happened this time last year on the verge of the school’s breaking up for summer, the Government is not planning on bringing back any restrictions.
A spokesman said: “We remain in a fortunate position with free PCR and LFT testing available, and islanders continuing to follow public health guidance.
“There are currently no plans to either increase or decrease any public health measures or guidance. However, covid does still remain a threat to the most vulnerable and unvaccinated. It is known that the effects of the vaccines wane over time, which means those that do not keep up with their vaccine schedule are not best protected.
“As a significant portion of islanders have not been eligible for the Spring Booster, and immunity from previous infections doesn’t guarantee protection against new variants, it is vital that everyone keeps doing the right thing to keep each other safe.”
The Government is asking islanders to:
With schools breaking up in less than a fortnight, the Government is also giving advice on travel: urging islanders to check that they are up to date with their vaccine schedule, as a number of countries still have restrictions in force for those that aren’t fully vaccinated.
Those who need a vaccine can book an appointment or attend one of the ‘Rock Up’ clinics at a parish hall.
Both the Government and operators advise that anyone who has any covid symptom should not travel.
For France, where many people will head to over the next few weeks, islanders can enter without restriction if they are triple vaccinated.
Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative result of a PCR test less than 72 hours old or an antigen test less than 48 hours old before departure, or an official certificate of recovery.
This is proof of a positive result of a PCR or antigen test carried out more than 11 days and less than six months previously.
Anyone who has had a positive PCR test since 23 June will automatically receive a recovery certificate through the post. Before that date, one can be requested.
Self-administered tests whose results are not certified by an approved private test provider are not valid for travel.
Travelling abroad this summer? A number of countries are still operating restrictions for those that aren’t fully vaccinated. Most countries require 2 weeks to have elapsed after your latest dose for it to be recognised.— Government of Jersey (@GovJersey) July 4, 2022
Booking & Rock-Up info at https://t.co/IO1v1dEIjg pic.twitter.com/9bRut7Qiv9
Pictured: The Government has issued fresh travel guidance.
Children under 12 are exempt from these requirements.
French authorities are no longer checking vaccine status certificates on arrival at Saint Malo. Also, people no longer have to present any proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, museums and other public places.
Masks are not required to be worn in the Harbour and Airport terminals or onboard aircraft or vessels, although passengers can clearly choose to do so and it remains an official recommendation.
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So long as businesses don’t start bleating for extra funding !