A number of changes will be made to the Isle of Man’s border restrictions on Saturday 1 May, along with changes to isolation requirements for travellers and a reduction in COVID-19 testing fees.
The changes include:
- Family members and property owners being able to apply to travel to the Island
- A reduction in self-isolation for travellers who have been in the UK for 14 days prior to travel, down from 14 to 7 days, and the ability to isolate in shared accommodation
- A reduction in fees for COVID-19 tests from £50 to £30
Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK said:
'Our border restrictions, put in place at the start of the pandemic, have served us well and have been a vital line of defence against the importation and spread of COVID-19.
'The Isle of Man is beginning a period of transition, moving away from trying to eliminate COVID-19 and instead adapting to live in a world with the virus. This change in approach, set out in the Isle of Man Government’sCOVID-19 Exit Framework, reflects the rapid progress of both the Isle of Man and UK vaccination programmes, and the significant fall in COVID-19 cases in the UK.
'The gradual easing of the Island’s border restrictions will start with a move from level 4 to level 3 of our Borders Framework this Saturday. The intention is for these restrictions to continue to ease between now and the end of June.'
The Chief Minister continued:
'I know that our border restrictions, whilst necessary and widely supported, have been hard for many in our community and for their families and loved ones off-Island. I am pleased that we are now in a position for residents to welcome family members back to our beautiful Island, with appropriate restrictions and safeguards in place to protect our people.'
Travel for family members, property owners and employees
Applications to request an exemption to travel to the Island for immediate family members and partners of Manx residents, as well as those who own property, will open at 12 noon on Friday 30 April. Travellers will be able to apply online or in writing and are advised not to book travel before their application is approved.
Full details of who qualifies as an immediate family member can be found at gov.im/covid19. Travellers will need to declare the family relationship as part of their application whilst those with property on the Island will need to provide evidence of ownership.
In a further change, from 1 May anyone with a contract of employment for at least three months can apply for an exemption to travel to the Island, a reduction from the current minimum of six months.
Changes to isolation requirements
The isolation requirements for people travelling to the Island will also change on 1 May. Both resident and non-resident travellers, who have been in the UK, Jersey or Guernsey for 14 days before their arrival onto the Island, will now only have to isolate for seven days instead of 14. To benefit from the reduced isolation period, a negative COVID-19 test result will be required on arrival and on day six of isolation.
After seven days of isolation, and subject to negative test results on arrival and on day six, travellers will be able to leave isolation. There will, however, be restrictions on where travellers can go between day seven and day 10. These will be set out in the traveller’s direction notice.
Travellers will also once again be able to isolate in shared accommodation with people they did not travel with, so long as the traveller agrees to undergo testing. Everyone in the household will be required to isolate for the seven days, but only travellers will be required to undergo testing. If a traveller chooses not to undergo testing, they will not be able to isolate in shared accommodation. They will have to isolate on their own or with those they travelled with.
If a traveller chooses not to undergo testing, they will be required to isolate for 21 days.
All travellers who receive a negative arrival test result will be able to leave isolation once a day for exercise as will others in their household. A face covering must be worn with social distancing from anyone outside of the household.
The new isolation requirements will not apply retrospectively to travellers already in isolation.
There will be additional restrictions for anyone travelling to the Isle of Man who has travelled outside of Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Jersey, or the United Kingdom in the 14 days prior to their arrival date. This includes Ireland. In these circumstances, the traveller will need to isolate for 14 days with a test on arrival and on day 13. If a traveller chooses not to undergo testing, they will be required to isolate for 21 days. Travellers will not be able to isolate in shared accommodation.
Reduction in testing fees
The cost of COVID-19 tests for travellers will reduce from 1 May. The fee will drop from £50 to £30 per test, with only two tests required – on arrival and day six or day 13 – as opposed to three tests – currently required on arrival, day six and day 13. This means the overall cost of testing for a period of self-isolation will reduce from £150 to a maximum of £60 per person.