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Chief Minister provides update on changes to Stay Safe restrictions

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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 in line with the approach described in the Stay Safe medium term response document.

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

The Chief Minister said:

‘The Council of Ministers is currently meeting three times a week. This morning, we were briefed on the latest situation with regards active cases, capacity at the hospital, staffing, personal protection equipment and other relevant information.

‘I am pleased to report that the indicators remain strong. This is the result of hard work by so many people across the Island. Thank you.’

Describing guidance on gatherings as ‘an incredibly complex area’, the Chief Minister said:

‘We are close to being able to make changes. You have shown us that you understand the importance of social distancing and the risks of spread if we get this wrong.

‘I do, however, need to ask you to be a little more patient on this. The Council of Ministers has asked for some further clarifications. We will go through this again at our meeting on Saturday. I will make an announcement on Monday.’

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

  • The Island’s property market will be able to resume activity from Monday 18 May. A range of restrictions must be observed to fulfil social distancing and hygiene requirements during viewings, aligning on this occasion with guidance published by Public Health England.
  • Non-essential retail businesses can open from Monday 18 May, if they feel ready to do so. Guidance has been made available to assist in preparation, and the Chief Minister asked for the community to show patience and respect while many shops begin to open their doors for the first time in weeks.
  • From Monday 18 May, workers in construction, trades and horticulture will be able to send their children to one of the existing education hub facilities. Parents and carers should contact their head teacher to discuss this development and to enable planning around the numbers of children involved.
  • The Council of Ministers will further review the possibility of nurseries opening on Thursday 21 May, as work continues between the sector and Public Health.
  • Archery, target shooting, paddle sports, and crown green and lawn bowls were all approved to resume activity, while observing social distancing requirements. Sporting associations and clubs are encouraged to produce credible plans as the Isle of Man Government continues to engage with the community around opportunities for recreation.

Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer MHK also appeared at today’s press briefing and outlined the restrictions which must be observed by pleasure craft owners who will be permitted to go to sea from daybreak on Saturday 16 May:

  • Marine Operations Centre must be notified by calling +44 1624 686628. This line is available 24 hours a day and applies to any type of vessel, including canoes, kayaks and paddleboards.
  • Vessels must be occupied only by members of the same household, must stay within three miles of shore limit and must not be out for longer than four hours. All sailings must take place during daylight.
  • These criteria are in place to ensure people do not put the emergency services under pressure.