EXCLUSIVE: ‘Beyond disappointed’ hoteliers in Jersey on closing for Christmas

Patrick Burke

Hoteliers in Jersey have spoken out at their disappointment and frustration at being forced to close as per new government rules after what has already been an incredibly challenging year.

Hotels, pubs and restaurants, and other hospitality venues were told to close on Friday 4 December until January 4 in a one-month ‘circuit breaker’ in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Patrick Burke, owner of The Atlantic Hotel in Jersey said he was ‘beyond disappointed’ to have to close again, especially as the business was preparing for the lucrative festive season.

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Speaking to BH, he says: “I am beyond disappointed that we have been forced to close our doors again after what has already been the most challenging season in The Atlantic Hotel’s 50 year history.

“The hospitality industry in Jersey, as with the rest of the country, has been devastated by the pandemic. This is just what we didn’t need going into a vital trading period and I must say it becomes increasingly difficult not to get emotional about it all. We have a strong team at The Atlantic and can hopefully weather the storm but I do fear for the wider industry on the Island.”

He added that the government has ‘singled out’ the industry with its decision to close all hospitality venues, despite shops being permitted to stay open.

“Whilst I understand that we have to play our part in controlling the spread of Covid-19 I feel that, with this decision, the Government of Jersey has unfairly singled out our industry. Had they taken decisive action at an earlier stage the island’s hospitality industry might now be looking forward to a busy festive season.

“Without this revenue many businesses will simply not survive. The situation is particularly heart-breaking given that we have all worked so hard to implement Jersey’s Visit Safe charter.

“Our focus now has to be on ensuring that we are match fit for next year. The Atlantic Hotel is a small family run business and we’ll be working closely together over the coming weeks to support each other and ensure we are in a good place to welcome visitors again as soon as we are able. I am confident that 2021 will be a strong year for the hotel and the Island of Jersey as we are ideally positioned as a safe destination, close to home for the UK market and with world class border testing arrangements already in place.”

Douglas Waddell, operations director at Hand Picked Hotels, which operates The Grand Jersey and L’Horizon Beach Hotel and Spa on the island, said as a result of the new measures, guests have had to cancel their Christmas and weddings plans to comply with the closures.

Speaking to BH, he says: “We are of course sad to have temporarily closed our hotels and health clubs in Jersey, not least for our guests who have had to cancel their wedding plans and Christmas celebrations, but also for our teams who have worked tirelessly to adapt over the past few months in offering a safe and secure environment for everyone.  

“Despite this pause in our main operations, I am so proud of our teams in Jersey, and across the estate, who continue to innovate in order to ensure our guests can still enjoy a Hand Picked experience at this time.”

Announced by chief minister John Le Fondre Jr, the rules also meant that gyms and indoor sports were no longer permitted to open, but shops and takeaway services able to remain open.

Tags : hotelsjerseyPatrick BurkeThe Atlantic Hotel Jersey
Zoe Monk

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