Jersey hospitality chief: Customers are blackmailing venues into breaking Covid rules

Owners of hospitality venues in Jersey have been threatened with bad online reviews by customers unless they agree to break the rules which means diners must stop drinking when their meal is finished.

The blackmail attempts have been reported to the Jersey Hospitality Association over the first weekend that the sector has reopened following the government’s “circuit-breaker” which has been in place since December.

The new rules, designed to prevent an uptick in Covid cases, mean alcohol can only be served with a meal, and when the meal is finished the drinking must also end.

Some customers have insisted their empty plates stay at their table, threatening to post fake bad reviews online if waiting staff stick to the rules and insist they stop consuming alcohol.

ITV News understands the owner of one venue was left in tears after facing up to hostile and aggressive customers who objected to the situation.

While another explains how a customer reacted when he was reminded about the rules.

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The head of the Jersey Hospitality says he would "implore the public to act sensibly and work within the guidance".

Jersey's police force were heavily present over the weekend providing reassurance to staff and customers.

Credit: ITV Channel TV

Before the weekend, the island’s most senior medic, Dr Ivan Muscat, issued a warning to customers and venues about the risks associated with breaking the rules.

He had previously raised the prospect that reopening hospitality venues will lead to an increase in Covid cases, hence the need to stick to all current rules and guidelines.

Meanwhile, leading restaurateur Dominic Jones has also taken to social media to say he had seen multiple venues in breach of the rules for a range of reasons, including staff not wearing masks, and tables being positioned too closely together.

Venues found to have broken the rules face prosecution.