23 December 2020
The Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, has written to Island communities who celebrate on Christmas Eve detailing the restrictions in place alongside STAC advice which recommends a continuation of the restriction to gatherings on Christmas Eve, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Jersey.
The letter has been sent to the Portuguese, Polish, and Romanian Honorary Consuls, the Chair of Caritas Jersey, and Canon Dominic Golding of St Thomas’ Church.
The Letter in full:
2020 has been a difficult year for all our Island communities. Many of us have faced uncertainty, separation from loved ones, or financial difficulty. All of us have had to adjust to new ways of working and living with COVID-19.
Many of us were looking forward to Christmas as an opportunity to spend time with family and loved ones. To help Islanders do this safely, we issued revised Christmas gatherings guidance. This guidance allows for two gatherings of up to 10 people on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
This guidance means that, for all of us, Christmas will look different this year: we’ll meet with fewer people; we’ll spend less time with our loved ones; we won’t be able to attend large church services However - by doing so - each of us will be doing our part to minimise the spread of COVID-19, and keep our families, loved ones, and the Island safe.
For our Portuguese, Polish, Romanian and other communities, this guidance will mean that the traditional Christmas Eve celebrations cannot safely take place as normally envisaged. Whilst a household can still celebrate Christmas Eve, we have, on the basis of STAC advice, not been able to extend the gatherings guidance to encompass Christmas Eve. I understand that this will be a disappointment because of how important Christmas Eve is to Catholic communities. I ask these communities to join us in following the new guidance and finding new ways to celebrate the festive season.
COVID-19 means that Christmas will look different this year, for everyone. And I’d urge Islanders from all faiths and backgrounds to continue to show the resilience and flexibility that they have shown throughout the year, and find, new safer ways to celebrate Christmas this year.
I’d like to thank you for following the guidance we’ve issued so far: for changing your behaviour, for adopting new habits, and for supporting us to combat the spread of COVID-19. All of us have made sacrifices, and I'm acutely aware that by restricting Christmas Eve, I’m now asking you to make one more.
I know our Island community will cope with this adversity. I, like you, look forward to celebrating Christmas in 2021.
Senator John Le Fondré