07 May 2020
Dog walkers and horse riders using the beaches will have to adhere to the usual restrictions during the summer now that Stay at Home restrictions have been relaxed.
From 10.30 am on 13 May, dogs must be kept on a lead and horses will not be allowed on beaches between 10.30am and 6pm.
Islanders have been able to continue to walk their dogs off the lead and ride horses on the beaches at any time of the day. The extension of the winter hours was intended to give dog walkers greater flexibility to comply with physical distancing rules while beaches were quiet.
However, in light of the changes to Stay at Home restrictions, ministers believe that a balance must be struck between achieving this flexibility and ensuring those currently accessing Jersey’s beaches for social activities are not unduly disturbed.
The Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Senator Steve Pallett, was planning to lodge legislation to extend the period that dogs without a lead and horses could be on beaches until Stay at Home restrictions were lifted.
The draft legislation, due to be debated by the States Assembly on 12 May, would have amended the Policing of Beaches (Jersey) Regulations 1959, which states that dogs must remain on leads between 10.30am and 6pm during the period of 1 May and 30 September.
However, following the relaxing of Stay at Home restrictions last week, Senator Pallett, in agreement with the Council of Ministers, has decided against extending the winter hours.
Senator Pallett said: “When we first considered an amendment to the Policing of Beaches (Jersey) Regulations 1959 some two weeks ago, we were under stricter Stay at Home measures. While these stricter rules were in place and people could only walk or exercise on the beach, it seemed sensible to extend the winter rules on allowing dogs to be walked off the lead during this lockdown period as there was little opportunity for dogs to be a nuisance to beach goers. It also allowed dog owners better opportunities to adhere to the physical distancing rules if they had the whole day to walk their dog rather than just the period before 10.30am and after 6pm.
“However, since the relaxation of the Stay at Home restrictions, families and household groups are accessing the beach more readily and are increasingly likely to do so when the weather is good. This will undoubtedly mean the likelihood that, should dog walkers have access to the beach to walk their dogs off the lead between 10.30am and 6pm, there is an increased risk that loose dogs will cause a nuisance to beach goers. The summer restrictions are specifically put in place to prevent this happening while people enjoy the beach, often with children.”
The Attorney General, Mark Temple QC, had previously said he wouldn’t pursue offences under the law from 1 May until the States considered the proposal on the 12 May. With the extension of winter hours for dog walking not going ahead, Islanders could risk prosecution from next Wednesday if they do not abide by the law.
However, Senator Pallett added that, should the situation change and stricter Stay at Home measures implemented, the amendment to the law could be debated.