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Mandatory Mask Law Set To Be Lodged Imminently

The Health Minister has told Channel 103 that a new law to make mask-wearing inside public spaces mandatory in Jersey is due to be lodged for debate this week.

A new campaign started on Monday to try and encourage more people to wear face coverings, now the weather is much colder and the risk of on-island transmission is greater if health advice isn't followed.

It has been strongly recommended, especially since the end of summer, but the government has been concerned that many people are still deciding not to wear them.

It is strongly advised that they are worn in:

  • Retailers - including post offices, pharmacies, and banks
  • Supermarkets, indoor markets, and petrol stations
  • In public transport or private hire cars and taxis
  • Hospitals, clinics, and GP surgeries
  • Care homes
  • Hairdressers and beauty salons

Deputy Richard Renouf says they are asking for feedback from shops on how compliant people are - which could have a strong say on whether it becomes mandatory or not.

"If we get really good compliance with this and everyone heeds the message and chooses to keep the island safe, then perhaps we won't need to make it mandatory.

"We'll debate the law that would allow this if we need it. It will depend on the response at the time, but I would just urge everybody to adhere to the guidance because that is keeping us safe."

It became compulsory to wear masks in shops in England and Scotland in July. Northern Ireland followed suit in August, with Wales doing the same in September.

Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ivan Muscat, says it would have been nonsensical to push people to wear masks in the summer in Jersey, given the low number of cases at the time.

However, given that cases have increased and we're now in winter, he says now is the right time to wear them.

"Emphasising it now - together with reinforcing the importance of hygiene, physical distancing, using QR codes to help with contact tracing, downloading the app to help with contact tracing and adhering to all the public health guidelines including gatherings, is really important at this point."

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