Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK has urged people to ‘massively change their behaviour’ to strengthen social distancing guidance and support the Isle of Man’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gyms, swimming pools, the National Sports Centre and the Curraghs Wildlife Park will close to the public, with effect from today, Sunday 22 March 2020. Theatres, cinemas and heritage sites have already shut their doors to protect residents and ensure the Island’s health services retain the capacity to deal with vulnerable members of the community.
Pubs, restaurants and cafes are being instructed to stop serving customers on site. Restaurants and cafes will be encouraged to develop delivery services or to offer a collection service where possible, provided strict social-distancing rules are followed. Pubs may operate delivery services.
The additional measures have been put in place in line with medical advice.
The Chief Minister said:
‘This is a rapidly changing situation and we must all do more. We need everyone to massively change their behaviour and take more seriously their individual responsibilities. Everyone needs to respect the rules on social distancing. Stop social gatherings. Do not go to any place where crowds gather. This is the moment for everyone to carefully consider whether any trip is necessary. If it is for something essential such as shopping for food or medicine, then maintain the two-metre rule. If someone is within reach then they are too close. These measures are not optional. They are absolutely vital to help suppress the spread of the virus.’
Work is continuing to take place to support the Manx economy and its workforce, and Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK will make a full statement tomorrow morning, Monday 23 March 2020.
As well as reiterating the advice on social-distancing, the Chief Minister again urged people not to panic buy or stockpile goods as it will potentially put healthcare professionals, key workers, the elderly and vulnerable members of the community at risk.
Freight deliveries are continuing and the Island has sufficient fuel and food to meet public needs.
Many retailers have put in place measures to enforce social-distancing guidance and to limit the number of purchases of certain items.
The Chief Minister said:
‘We all need to do the right thing to slow the spread of COVID-19. If you can stay at home, please do so. Avoid all unnecessary travel and if you must go out, then keep your distance. Only buy what you need. Everyone must play their part during this extremely difficult time.’