Over 8,000 Residents Traveled in 2020
A written Tynwald response has revealed that 8,004 island residents were allowed to travel back to the island in 2020. From March 26 to July 20, when the island’s borders were on the Level 5 restrictions, there were 1,556 residents who returned to the Isle of Man. Between July 20 and December 23 2020, there were a further 6,448 returning residents.
Comparatively, a total of 1,328 non-residents were granted compassionate exemptions to travel to the island while 629 contractual applications were approved. The figures were requested by Rob Mercer MLC.
Elimination is Not Forever
While the island’s short term goal, and the point of this lockdown, is to achieve local elimination of the coronavirus, Chief Minister HQ has told Tynwald this is not a possible goal in the long term. Mr Quayle was addressing a debate on a motion from Chris Thomas MHK when he said: ‘It is not our policy to have total elimination forever, it is a short term position while the vaccination happens and while more is learnt on how long the vaccination lasts for, [eg] does it stop the spread from a person who has been vaccinated for the virus from passing it on? These are questions that we still don’t know, so as a short term policy it seems logical to have local elimination of the virus but that obviously can’t be sustained forever.’
Come Fly With Me
Infrastructure Minister Tim Baker has revealed the island is underwriting air routes to the tune of £5,455,366. The taxpayer is currently underwriting routes from the island to Liverpool, Manchester and London Heathrow with airline Loganair. The current arrangements run out on May 31 for London and March 31 for Liverpool and Manchester. Loganair is due to operate more routes from the island across the British Isles later this year but a DoI spokesman has said the gov will not be underwriting these routes.
Mr Baker also confirmed that five airlines expressed an interest in operating routes to and from the Island with government support during the pandemic. Ultimately Loganair was the one chosen.
The DoI caught 449 drivers with untaxed vehicles in 2020, figures requested by Jason Moorhouse MHK have shown. Through the year, September was the worst month with 131 owners identified as driving untaxed vehicles. Vehicles are not stopped when identified as being untaxed. Letters are sent to the owners of those vehicles identified as not taxed.
The figure likely would’ve been higher but the DoI wasn’t using its Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology during the lockdown period of April to June.
Treasury Minister Alf Cannan has told Tynwald that 16 people have been matched and signed on with new jobs under the Manx Restart Scheme. A further eight people have been matched, but their paperwork has not yet been completed. Responding to a question from Speaker Juan Watterson, Mr Cannan said: ‘Unfortunately, not all of the 16 individuals for whom the relevant paperwork has been completed have been able to start work yet due to the circuit- break restrictions. Our recruitment partner has held introductory meetings with a further 47 individuals who are now ready to be matched with suitable vacancies through the scheme.
‘Total expenditure in relation to the Manx Restart Scheme thus far is just under £18,000. Costs will ramp up going forward as more individuals are matched with employers and their employment commences.’
For more info on the restart scheme, see: www.gov.im/categories/working-in-the-isle-of-man/manx-restart-scheme/
Build The Wall
Work on the DoI’s sea wall for Douglas beach is due to begin this year. Minister Tim Baker told Tynwald that the DoI is also developing designs for rock armour protection at the Strathallan end of the Douglas Promenade. However he added that the DoI is not responsible for the height of the beach. As many people will no doubt have seen, the beach is now at road level in parts. Mr Baker said this is the responsibility of Douglas Council, although there should be one metre of free wall above the sand.