The return of drinking alcohol while standing up in a pub or bar has been pushed back by more than a month - but normal opening hours will be able to resume from Friday, ahead of schedule.
Currently, islanders can only be served alcohol while being seated at a table, with a standing service set to resume on 10 May.
But the Ministers have now decided that stand-up drinking should now only resume on Monday 14 June - the final stage of the 'reconnection plan', which will see islanders able to host an unlimited number of people in their homes and gardens, the reopening of nightclubs, and the return of festivals.
The Government has also now decided that up to 50 people will be able to attend a wedding reception (as opposed to just a ceremony) in a private garden and that saunas and jacuzzis will be able to reopen from 10 May.
This morning, the drinking delay has been heavily criticised by the Jersey Hospitality Association who said after 14 months of restrictions, the industry is on its knees, and described the updated guidance for gatherings announced late yesterday as ‘nonsensical’.
Pictured: Simon Soar: "All the Government has done so far is back track rather than acknowledge they were wrong.”
Simon Soar, the Chief Executive of the Jersey Hospitality Association, commented: “Businesses in the hospitality industry have not been able to trade properly for over a year and even with some of the recent relaxation of the rules, they are not making any money. I fear for the mental health of business owners and their hard-working staff who are facing losing their jobs and livelihoods as these restrictions continue.
"Stand-up drinking would allow many of these businesses to start making money again and the decision to delay it is a serious threat to their future. There is also no mention of a review of mask wearing indoors. We have two known active cases of Covid-19 and one of the best testing and track and trace systems for arriving passengers in the world. I cannot understand why the government is taking this non-sensical approach.”
Pictured: Stand-up drinks services will return at the end of the reconnection process - at the same time as festivals.
Explaining the rationale for the changes, Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf said: “Islanders will be aware that last month we accelerated other parts of the reconnection roadmap, including increasing gathering limits earlier than planned.
"As a result, following advice from STAC, it has been decided that we should now delay stand up drinking until Stage 7. This decision will, however, remain under review.
“I would like to thank islanders for their continued support by adhering to covid-19 guidelines. It is due to this that we can manage a slow and safe return to normality.”
Mr Soar also criticised communication from Ministers on the changes:
“I thought we had a good working relationship with the Government and, up until now, our lines of communication worked well. The only response I have had to my email was an acknowledgement it had been received. That is simply not good enough when we were trying to get Ministers and officials to understand a mistake had been made. The statement made by the Government is very disappointing. It is narrow minded and not factual. It doesn’t cover the actual situation faced by events companies who work extremely hard with couples to put on safe and compliant receptions and parties. There are proper processes for putting in place risk assessments which already exist for all venues. All the Government has done so far is back track rather than acknowledge they were wrong.”
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