Jersey Chamber of Commerce has appealed to businesses to have plans in place to face any potential disruption that may occur if the Covid 19 virus is confirmed in Jersey.
Chamber President, Jennifer Carnegie, noted the key role business has in containing and mitigating any outbreak;
“Chamber has been active in tracking the latest developments with the coronavirus and feels that now is the time for businesses on the island to invest in preparations and test contingency plans in the event of a local outbreak. The majority of individual interactions with others is during the week at work and employers can play a huge part in helping to restrict or slow the spread whilst protecting our community and economy.
We have seen in Asia the impact this virus has had on economic output and the disruption to families and communities and now is the time to step up our preparedness, especially with outbreaks now occurring in Europe. As a global industry player we may be surrounded by water but we are not immune, and prudent preparations would be advisable. Chamber will be engaging with our members to see how best we can support them in their duty of care and preparations.”
Chamber Chief Executive, Murray Norton, would like to see a more proactive stance from Government:
“Whilst Chamber acknowledges that Government has been actively messaging and advising the community on how to protect themselves, we have seen little information on how they would actually coordinate any response to an outbreak. We are, obviously, reliant on our Critical National Infrastructure providers, many of whom work within Government, and to have reassurance of specific plans would helpful. Chamber would ask that Government engage with us so we can help advise our members on how best to prepare and we can identify ways of coordinating any response together.”
The Chamber President Jennifer Carnegie has also highlighted the many detailed areas that need considering;
“There are also many questions that may hold consequences and costs for the day-to-day running of island businesses, including that related to the ‘self-isolation’ advice already given. Clarity over the varying levels of sickness allowances businesses give, the implications for the supply of goods to the island, additional measures employers may require to protect key workers and whether Jersey has the appropriate recovery facilities in place to assist should large numbers contract the virus locally. We have had concerned members approach us and now would seem to be the time to share a prudent and sensible island specific response, to ensure we are all on the front foot in the event that we identify Covid 19 within our community.”