The Council of Ministers has recently reviewed the position and guidance on the use of face coverings.
In recent weeks there has been a visible increase in the use of face coverings by the public across a range of settings. Whilst face coverings remain a matter of personal choice, it was felt that a clear indication of when face coverings are likely to have the maximum benefit would assist the public.
Government strongly advises that members of the public wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces.
Existing advice on the need to consider hands, face, space and fresh air continues to apply across all settings, recognising that all of these factors combined help to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading.
While current case numbers have reduced from the recent peak, this is likely to fluctuate and some level of cases will continue for the foreseeable future. An increased use and consideration of face coverings could play a role in containing further spread of the virus, allowing society and the economy to continue to function over the next month.
The advice aligns the Isle of Man to the advice given in England, where face coverings are no longer mandatory but it is advised that they are used in crowded and confined spaces.
Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK said:
'It is encouraging to see that the case numbers of COVID-19 in the Island have reduced. This is undoubtedly thanks to the great Manx public’s diligence and the responsible measures that people are taking. Clearly, it is still too early to tell what the long term trends may look like. The Council of Ministers has always committed to reviewing the situation regularly and updating our guidance in line with the data available to us.
'Council has once again discussed the impact that face coverings, when used properly, can have. While we are not making it a legal requirement we are strongly advising their use in in crowded and enclosed spaces between now and the end of August, when the position will be reviewed again.
'COVID-19 will be a consideration in our daily lives for some time to come, and we will have to manage living in a world with the virus. We all need to consider our hands, face, space and fresh air all as mitigations and they all play a part in helping to contain the spread of the virus. Business need to consider maximising ventilation and supporting customers and staff to make personal choices.
'While positive personal choices will play a major role in keeping our Island safe against coronavirus, we do recognise that there are some settings where personal choice, such as maintaining physical distancing, is more difficult and in these situations we advise that a face covering is used, but it is still ultimately a personal choice for each and every one of us.'