Wonky Town Festival had been scheduled for 17 and 18 July but its organiser, J P Anquetil, said the possibility of the festival being forced to cancel at the last minute if the government did not lift the final set of restrictions would be ‘financial suicide’.
The festival will now take place in 2022 and Mr Anquetil is encouraging ticket-holders to roll their ticket through to next year’s event.
Last week the government announced that the final stage of reconnection – which would allow stand-up drinking, large-scale events and festivals and unlimited numbers gathering in private homes and gardens – would be delayed until 15 July.
The restrictions were originally due to be lifted on 14 June but were then delayed until 21 June before being pushed back further to 5 July and now 15 July.
On Sunday night government ministers announced that isolation requirements for direct contacts would be removed after the Island’s contact-tracing system became overwhelmed.
Despite assurances from ministers that the Island is on track for ‘freedom day’ on 15 July, Mr Anquetil said running a festival two days after the final set of restrictions were due to ease with no guarantees as to whether they would be lifted was ‘impossible’.
‘They are telling us that this will be the final delay to restrictions, but they have said this before. We cannot afford to take the losses if the festival had to be cancelled days before. Imagine if we had paid contractors to build the site and booked flights for DJs to come over, but then were told the restrictions were not easing and we lost all that money. It is far too financially risky and it would take us to the point of no return,’ he said.
Mr Anquetil added that travel restrictions and isolation requirements for passengers arriving into the Island meant it would be a ‘nightmare’ trying to fly DJs over to perform at the festival.
‘It would be too difficult flying them over under the current restrictions. If they tested positive or had to isolate for whatever reason then we would miss out on a booking and it would not be fair on people who have paid money to watch these people perform,’ he said.
‘Even if we could run, the Covid mitigation we would need to put in place on the day would be horrendous and would be a lot of extra work for those involved.’
Mr Anquetil also owns Rojo Bar & Nightclub, which is currently operating a seated service. He said the club was ready to go and would run events if the final restrictions were lifted next week.
‘I have given up trying to second guess what is happening. If the restrictions are eased then the nightclub will be ready to go, as long as we have the staff and they do not end up in isolation,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Jake Powell, organiser of the Good Vibrations festival, due to take place on 17 July, said he was planning to ‘push ahead’.
The event features a 1980s-themed surf contest, live bands and DJs, beach five-a-side football, mental-health workshops and an evening event at the Watersplash nightclub.
Mr Powell said that he planned to operate in ‘whatever capacity allowed’.
‘Even if we cannot run the nightclub event, I would still consider running the day-time stuff, even though I would have to take a significant loss, as people deserve a good time,’ he said.
‘We do not know what is going to happen but it is all or nothing for me now as I cannot move the festival to later in the summer. I have gone full circle thinking about it and I am just trying to be optimistic that the final restrictions will be eased.’
The children’s commissioner
The easing of isolation requirements is ‘the best decision for our children’ at present, the children’s commissioner has said.
Deborah McMillan added that government policy must take into account ‘the balance of harms’ posed to young people from the impact of Covid-19.
She said: ‘I appreciate that some parents will be very pleased about decisions because of the harm being caused to their children through repeated isolation and missing really important school events but equally I can see that some parents will be concerned that the disease might run through schools and will be worried about their children catching covid.
‘I am confident that the advice provided by STAC has been at the forefront of government decisions. We know children will have a much less severe disease and, if you balance that by the harms caused by repeated episodes of contact-tracing and isolating, this is the best decision for our children at the moment.’
She added: ‘There is the mental health impact of the pandemic and also safeguarding concerns to take into account. I know one school that had cancelled its activity week and that’s now back on, which is fantastic. The children will be able to spend time outdoors and take part in various activities, which is so important to help their recovery.’
Ms McMillan acknowledged that it would be a difficult time for many young people, parents and carers and urged anyone with concerns to contact their school or GP.
The current situation
There are currently 572 active cases (as of midday on 6 July).
On Sunday it was revealed that 155 cases were in the ten- to 19-year-old age group while 96 were in the 20 to 29-year-old age group.
- If you are identified as a direct contact you will be required to take tests on day zero, five and ten, but do not have to isolate unless you are showing symptoms of Covid-19.
- If you are identified as a direct contact but choose not to take part in the Covid-19 testing programme you will have to isolate for 14 days.
- If you receive a positive result for Covid-19 you will have to isolate immediately for 14 days.
- All passengers who are identified as a direct contact when travelling into the Island will not have to isolate, but must follow the testing regime for arrivals.
- Passengers arriving from a green-listed area who are not fully vaccinated are required to take a Covid-19 test on arrival and day eight, while isolating until their first negative test result.
- Fully vaccinated arrivals from a green-listed area are tested on arrival but do not need to isolate.
- Passengers arriving from an amber area who are not fully vaccinated are required to take a Covid-19 test on arrival, day five and ten, while isolating until their day-five negative test result.
- Fully vaccinated arrivals from an amber area are tested on arrival but do not need to isolate.
- Passengers arriving from a red-listed area who are not fully vaccinated are required to take a Covid-19 test on arrival, day five and ten while isolating until their day-ten negative result.
- Fully vaccinated arrivals from a red area are tested on arrival and day eight, and must isolate until their first negative test result.
Arriving from a country outside the Common Travel Area on England’s international red list:
- If you have isolated in the UK for ten days then you don’t need to isolate in Jersey.
- If you have not isolated in the UK then you will be tested on arrival in Jersey and on day five and ten. You will need to isolate until your day-ten negative test result, regardless of your vaccination status or age.
Providing a negative test upon arrival:
- If you can provide a negative Covid-19 PCR test result within 72 hours of your arrival from a green-listed area then you do not need to isolate but will be tested on day eight.
- Providing a negative Covid-19 PCR test before arriving from an amber or red area or a country on England’s international red list means that you will not be tested on arrival but must follow the other testing and isolation requirements.
- Children under the age of 18 are classed as green arrivals if arriving from green, amber or red areas, regardless of their parents’ vaccination status or travel history.