Social media campaigners: Co-funding not enough to get Jersey businesses through circuit breaker

Business owners behind a social media campaign say co-funding will not be enough to get businesses through the extended circuit breaker.

The campaign, #jerseyfamilybusinesses, which runs on Facebook and Twitter, focusses on the families behind the businesses.

The group of us who have got together are all small family businesses. We want to pass on our businesses to our children, we want to feed our families and make sure we can give our families the best start in life.

Sophie Walton, salon owner

In order to ensure the survival of their businesses the group says they need additional support. Payroll co-funding, which is the subsidy employers get to help cover the wage bill, is barely scratching the surface according to Sophie.

The maximum you could get was £1,600, so for someone like me with two lots of rent to pay on both properties and your employees' 20% on top of their social security, you're already in a deficit. You've got all the other bills, you've got phone bills, electricity, your appointment running costs. They all add up.

Sophie Walton, salon owner.

Another of the businesses behind the campaign is Sorella, a hair salon in St Brelade. Rachel Barette and Rebecca Pirouet took on the business from their mother ten years ago. They, like Sophie, say fixed costs support is urgently needed.

In the previous lockdown co-funding was a fantastic initiative when it was paired with the generosity we received from landlords, pauses in mortgage breaks, and pauses in loans. As this goes on we can't keep expecting landlords, many of whom are family businesses themselves to keep bringing up the rear in this. The government needs to step in now and provide us with proper grants.

Rebecca Pirouet, salon co-owner.

Further support has been promised to cover the extension of the circuit breaker. The Economic Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham confirmed to ITV News on Friday (8 January), that further support was on the way, but as of yet no details have been provided. 

On Thursday (7 January) it was announced that Jersey's circuit breaker would be extended for at least two weeks with a staged reconnect of the economy, depending on the risk-level associated with each sector. 

Proposed stages to restart everyday life in Jersey:

  • Stage 1 is where the island is now, and includes the reopening of schools. 

  • Stage 2 will include the re-opening of non-essential retail, indoor leisure, like museums and galleries, as well as close contact services like hairdressers. The earliest this will happen is 25 January.

  • Stage 3 is likely to include the re-opening of some hospitality. The reopening of the economy will be assessed every two weeks, which means the very earliest this would happen was two weeks after the entry into Stage 2. 

  • Stage 4, which will see the easing of some social restrictions, including household mixing is unlikely to happen before March when the vaccination programme should be starting to take effect. It is hoped that by 29 March everyone over the age of 50 as well as all at risk categories will have received their first dose of the vaccine.