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Circuit-break - FAQ: What you need to know

As of 00:01 on Thursday 07 January 2021 the Isle of Man is entering a 3 week circuit-break lockdown to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This includes asking residents to stay at home, Borders moving to level 5, as well as schools and non-essential services being closed. 

Below you will find a list of subjects that contain answers to the most frequently asked questions to our COVID-19 Community Help Line.

These will be regularly reviewed so the most up-to-date content is available based on current restrictions and decisions. 


Dog walking, horses and livestock

Can I walk my dog?

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must not leave your house, even to walk your dog. You will need to find someone else to do it. If you are not experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus, getting out to walk your dog will count as your one form of exercise per day. Make sure to keep 2 metres away from people outside your household and consider wearing a mask.

Can I walk someone else's dog?

You may also leave your house to provide care or help a vulnerable person. This includes walking a dog for someone who is unable to leave their house because they are self-isolating with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or being shielded. You should remember to wash your hands before and after handling the dog and keep 2 metres away from other people and animals, including when handing over the dog to the owner.

Can I transport livestock into the Island?

Livestock will not be able to transit between the UK and the Isle of Man for 21 days from 7 January 2021.

The transport of food chain animals is essential and can therefore continue under the approved protocol already in place.  This exemption does not extend to other species of livestock i.e. horses and pets for the duration of the circuit breaker

Can I exercise my horse?

If you, or someone in your household is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, then you must not leave your house, even to exercise or tend to your horse.

If you are not self-isolating, you can leave your house to exercise your horse, however we recommend that you do not ride on the road, or minimise the amount of time that you spend on the road if you need to get to a place of exercise such as an indoor school, field, or bridal path.

Exercising your horse will count as your once per day exercise.

Can I drive my horse in a box to another yard or field to exercise?

Yes, if current conditions in their own fields or yards are unsuitable, however travel should be keep to a minimum as much as possible. You are not permitted to travel with others from outside your household at this time and you must also follow social distancing guidelines and maintain a 2 metre distance between others not from your household at all times.

I operate a Doggy Daycare or dog walking business – can I open?

Doggy Daycare businesses and Dog Walking businesses are exempt from business closures and can continue to operate for essential workers and those that are disabled/vulnerable or isolating.

Benefit Claims

How do I claim my jobseekers allowance if I have to self-isolate or am obeying social distancing guidance?

Anyone claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance will not be required to attend in person at a Social Security office to claim their benefit. Instead, applications can be submitted by post. New claimants should contact the Jobseeker’s Allowance Team to ask for a claim form to be sent to them.

Do I need to still sign-on at the social security office if I am claiming jobseekers allowance?

Anyone claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance will be temporarily excused from the requirements to sign-on in person at a social security office, usually once a fortnight. They will continue to be paid their Jobseeker’s Allowance, but they must contact the Jobseeker’s Allowance Team straightaway if their circumstances change, they do any work or they wish to end their claim.

I am unable to work and earn a wage, is there any help?

The Manx Earnings Replacement Allowance (MERA) has been brought back into effect immediately. Subject to terms and conditions, you may be able to apply for MERA. The MERA provides an income of £200 per week to people who have been temporarily or permanently laid off, or lost their self-employed work. It was re-introduced on 5 January 2021 and will be paid up to 31 January 2021.

It is available to both displaced employees - where their employer is unable to retain them under the Salary Support Scheme - as well as the self-employed, and will be paid up to 31 January 2021.

For full details and information on applying, visit COVID-19 Circuit-breaker MERA.

Those already receiving job seeker’s allowance are not able to apply for the MERA.

Childcare and mixing households

Can a child travel between two separated parents’ homes?

Yes, children of separated households are able to travel between parents’ homes in order to provide childcare. You should follow social distancing measures and face covering advice when interacting with individuals who are not from your immediate household.

My child’s other parent lives in the UK. Can they travel to visit them?

Yes, as residents are free to travel to the UK. However, the following points should be considered:

  • The accompanying adult travelling to the UK will have to self-isolate on their return, and all current rules will apply
  • Return travel cannot be guaranteed should the border restrictions increase
  • The child/children must be collected by a resident adult, and then must self-isolate in accordance with current rules

It should also be noted that children who are ordinarily resident in the UK cannot enter the island at present.

My child is already in the UK as travelled before 7 January with their other parent. How can I bring them back to the Island?

The Isle of Man resident parent must travel to the UK to collect the child and then isolate with them on return. If there are others in the household who do not travel then the isolation must be in separate accommodation.

Can my children’s grandparent or other relative provide childcare for my child?

For essential workers only who must work, members of your family may provide childcare and/or collect them to transport between separated homes.

I have a nanny – can they continue to come to my house to care for my child?

If you have a live-in nanny and they were in your house before 00:01 on Thursday 7 January then they are classed as a member of your household, but should not mix with any other household during the period of restrictions.

If your nanny was not live-in, then they will no longer be able to visit your home, as this would constitute household mixing. If the household is still required to attend work as an essential worker, places will be available at nurseries or schools, and the child may be taken to another household for the provision of care under these circumstances.

Can people continue to buy/sell on facebook or other social media sites?

In line with the stay at home provisions, unless it is to attend a place of work or to go shopping or another essential/emergency reason, we would not expect people to be travelling to other households to deliver or pick up items. Therefore we do not expect buy/sell to continue between private households as part of the lockdown circuit break.

Vulnerable groups and Shielding

Please see Vulnerable groups and Shielding webpages. 



See: Gatherings, events and movement


Face coverings

See more details on the Guidance for face coverings page.


Family & friends

Can I see my friends and family?

It’s really important to reduce the spread of the virus. This means that in the short term you should not be meeting friends and family unless you live in the same household.

We recognise the importance of keeping in touch with your friends and encourage you to use phone or video calls.
If you are a carer for vulnerable person, you may be able to visit their home to provide essential care, but you should continue to practice social distancing where possible and use appropriate PPE.

Can I visit elderly relatives?

No, you are asked not to visit family members who do not live in your home, unless they are vulnerable and you are providing essential care for them.

Please keep in touch with them using phone or video calls.

Where your relatives are elderly or vulnerable, you may leave your house to help them, for example by dropping shopping or medication at their door. You can also help them to order online.

Can I help a vulnerable person?

A person may be vulnerable if they are elderly or infirm (through age, illness or disability) or otherwise dependent upon the care being provided by a person entering the premises.

If a person was being cared for before the restrictions came into place, they can continue to be cared for.

You may provide support to vulnerable people, only if you fulfil all of the conditions below:

  • you and other members of your household are well and have no symptoms like a persistent cough, shortness of breath or high temperature
  • you are under 70
  • you are not pregnant
  • you do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus

When outside the home, you should stay at least two metres away from others wherever possible and observe current restriction advice.

Can I take/ drive a vulnerable person outside of my household to a hospital appointment?

As of 00.01 on Thursday 7th January, no mixing of households or car sharing is allowed, however if this person is usually the carer for the vulnerable person in their home then providing the following that is acceptable: 

  • you and other members of your household are well and have no symptoms like a persistent cough, shortness of breath or high temperature  
  • you are under 70 
  • you are not pregnant 
  • you do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus 

You should stay at least two metres away from others wherever possible and observe face covering advice. 

I have a vulnerable elderly parent. Can they move into my home?

As of 00.01 on Thursday 7 January, no mixing of households is allowed, however you may provide support to vulnerable people, providing:

  • you and other members of your household are well and have no symptoms like a persistent cough, shortness of breath or high temperature
  • you are under 70
  • you are not pregnant
  • you do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus

You should stay at least two metres away from others wherever possible and observe PPE advice.

Leaving the house & exercise

See: Leaving the house and exercise


Travel & repatriation

See: Isle of Man resident and student travel



Should I go to work or stay at home?

If your business or premises has been mandated to close, they must remain closed. If it has not been mandated to close, of if your business falls under one of the exemptions, you may go to work only where you absolutely cannot work from home.

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. Further information is available on the Guidance for businesses page.

I am not an essential worker but cannot work from home, what should I do?

If your business or premises has been mandated to close then it must remain closed.

If your business has not been mandated to close, or if it falls into an exemption category, and if you cannot work from home then you can still travel to work, however you must follow strict social-distancing rules and observe PPE advice.

Essential workers are those whose child will be prioritised for education provision. This key worker definition does not affect whether or not you can travel to work – if you are not a key worker, you may still travel to work provided you cannot work from home.

Anyone who is displaying symptoms or is in a household where someone has symptoms should not go to work, should self-isolate and call 111 for advice.

See also: On-island essential worker list