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Chief Minister confirms next steps in response to coronavirus pandemic

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Chief Minister Howard Quayle has confirmed the next steps being taken to enable the Isle of Man to continue its gradual emergence from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic under Stay Safe restrictions.

The measures were agreed by the Council of Ministers today, and announced at the Isle of Man Government’s daily press briefing at 4pm.

Referring to the Stay Safe medium-term response document published on Monday, the Chief Minister reiterated the message that the changes have been carefully considered alongside guidance from clinicians, and balanced with the needs of the community around three core themes: health, society and economy.

The Chief Minister said:

‘This morning I chaired an especially lengthy Council of Ministers meeting. We considered the latest health data available to us, the advice of our clinical leadership and other important indicators from across our social, economic and law enforcement sectors.

‘We, of course, wanted particularly to understand what – if any – impact there has been since we made the last changes to our measures.

‘I am pleased to say that there has been no evidence that any of the cases that we have seen over the past two weeks are linked to the sectors that we allowed to return to work on April 24 or indeed any of the changes we made in moving to this 'Stay Safe' phase.’

In addition to a number of specific changes, the Chief Minister also provided an update on a range of issues and signposted when they would next be reviewed:

  • Options around enabling gatherings, particularly those to support families, are being explored, and these will be considered by the Council of Ministers on Thursday 14 May

  • Advice for those in vulnerable groups and currently shielding has been adjusted to allow those affected to take up to an hour’s exercise each day, if they wish

  • A pathway has been established to enable shops and other retail businesses to possibly open from Monday 18 May. A decision will be subject to further assessment and an update will follow on Thursday 14 May

  • Garden centres may open to the public from Monday 11 May, with full social distancing measures in place. Those with cafes must provide takeaway services only, in line with restrictions in place for similar enterprises across the Island

  • Businesses, particularly those which are office-based, must continue to enable staff to work from home, wherever possible. A phased return may be introduced from Monday 25 May, based on risk assessments that demonstrate an employer’s ability to provide a safe place to work. Regulations will be adjusted to enable companies to investigate how this may be done, and to allow staff access to premises to put measures in place

  • Restarting non-essential health services is being explored and it’s hoped detailed announcements will begin to be made during the week commencing Monday 18 May

  • Sporting associations should continue to work with government to demonstrate, through robust risk assessments, how they aim to operate in a safe manner

  • Indoor sports are not permitted to resume and gyms are to remain closed

  • Guidelines on using pleasure craft, including safety criteria designed to minimise the risk of any impact on health services, will be published next week, with the possibility of restrictions being lifted from Saturday 16 May

  • Small aircraft will be allowed to be flown, from Sunday 10 May, under stringent restrictions for maintenance reasons and to enable them to remain airworthy

  • Education hubs will be expanded to accept children of workers in sectors permitted to resume activity. This will be implemented in close collaboration with teachers and other schools staff to ensure the environment is safe for them and the children

  • UCM will commence a phased return in disciplines, where it is safe to do so

  • Nurseries will not be reopening, and will continue to accept children of key workers only. This will be reviewed again on Thursday 14 May

  • A review of the repatriation process has taken place and an update will be provided on Monday 11 May

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