Alderney Chamber head wary of sprinting out of lockdown

ALDERNEY took its first step out of lockdown yesterday with businesses gearing up to resume trade.

Construction work at the new Mainbrayce  Chandlery at the Inner Harbour re-started in earnest yesterday after a three week lay-off due to lockdown. (Picture by David Nash)
Construction work at the new Mainbrayce Chandlery at the Inner Harbour re-started in earnest yesterday after a three week lay-off due to lockdown. (Picture by David Nash)

Stage one marks the reopening of the island’s economy and reunions of households within bubbles, which is particularly important to a small community, said Andrew Eggleston, Alderney Chamber of Commerce president and general manager of Bell & Co estate agency.

More than 500 residents from more than 140 businesses are represented by the Chamber.

Essentials have been open, but all other non-public facing businesses can now move forwards, he said, with many immediately publishing plans to reopen.

‘It is, of course, natural instinct to return to normality as fast as possible, but not at any cost. While we are pleased with what stage one has brought us, Alderney needs to remain wary about moving too quickly into stage two.’

Continued caution is necessary given the small demographic.

‘We cannot afford to have a cluster of Covid cases, our infrastructure could not bear it. This would then put greater strain on Guernsey.

‘The Bailiwick has managed the pandemic in a very controlled and professional way. Too speedy a departure from this could result in a major backward step.’

Alderney’s property market has ‘continued apace’ throughout the pandemic, Mr Eggleston said.

December was record-breaking with 12 houses transacted at the Land Registry, a surprisingly high number of sales.

‘We have put this down to three main causes – the open air corridor between our two islands and internal movement within Alderney, which is usually sparked by economic confidence.

‘It has also been pleasing to note the increased interest and activity from the UK, with some even buying blind.

‘There are now so many who realise they can live and work in a different manner – it is as though an alternative work ethic has been created.

Conditions of sale were altered to offer protection to buyers and vendors should Covid prevent a sale, with virtual video viewings.

‘Our office remains confident and optimistic as life slowly returns to some form of normality.’

Cases falling in Jersey and the UK are pleasing, he said.

‘If rules are strictly adhered to – and with the benefits of the vaccines – we may be witnessing the final throes of this terrible pandemic.’

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