Hotel Isolation – a Tale of Two Islands

Think back to Monday March 23 2020, the gov closed our borders to all but returning residents. By the end of the week, they were closed completely.

On April 11 2020, the Manx gov implemented a policy whereby returning residents would be required to quarantine at the Comis Hotel for 14 days. 

Not everyone was happy about it and some kept a diary of their time at Comis to share their feelings and experiences of the quarantine, but at very least we all knew where we stood.

This remained in place until May 11 when returnees were then allowed to isolate at home. Now of course they must isolate alone, away from their household, unless they travelled together for either 14 days with three negative tests or 21 days if they refuse to take the tests.

Now nine months and 28 days later, the UK and Scottish govs have announced the implementation of a similar policy, but even they differ from each other. Critics and opposition parties have said it is much too little, much too late. 

Gef has looked at the different systems to see how they compare and contrast to what was implemented on the Isle of Man.

Who Quarantines at a Hotel?

Isle of Man 🇮🇲

Everyone. It was as simple as that, if you returned to the Isle of Man, you went to the Comis Hotel for 14 days with a cost of up to £1,000. This was later eased to allow residents to isolate at home.

England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Some people. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons on Monday that anyone entering the UK from a ‘red list’ country would have to go into a hotel quarantine. The list of countries can be seen here. Travellers entering England from these countries will have to pay £1,750 for their stay.

Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Everyone. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that her govt will be ‘block booking’ 1,300 rooms at six hotels near the country’s airports and all international arrivals will be required to isolate there.

For How Long?

Isle of Man 🇮🇲

Returning residents were kept at the Comis Hotel for 14 days, at which point they could go home.

England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 and Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Residents will be required to isolate for 10 days with mandatory Covid tests on day two and day eight. Wales is following the English rules, while Northern Ireland is yet to state what its rules will be.

What Does the Money Pay For?

Isle of Man 🇮🇲

On the island, returning residents were provided with three meals a day. The charge also covered the cost of travel, the hotel rooms and went towards paying for the 24 hour security. However, returning residents did have to pay for any extras such as soft drinks outside of meal times.

England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

The £1,750 fee for an individual includes the hotel, the cost of transport and testing. The additional rate for one extra adult or a child aged over 12 is £650, and for a child aged five to 12 it is £325. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said the fee includes three meals, tea, coffee and water, but other items will be available at an extra cost through room service.

Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

The £1,750 charge for the room includes mandatory Covid tests on day two and day eight following arrival for one person – any additional travellers will incur supplemental costs. It also includes food and drink, but again some items will cost extra.

Rules Breakers

Isle of Man 🇮🇲

Manx residents who break quarantine rules, whether at the Comis Hotel, at home or as is now, those isolating alone, could face a fine of up to £10,000 or three months in prison.

England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

A £1,000 penalty for any international arrival who fails to take a mandatory tes. A £2,000 penalty to any international arrival who fails to take the second mandatory test, as well as automatically extending their quarantine period to 14 days. And a £5,000 fixed penalty notice, rising to £10,000, for arrivals who fail to quarantine in a designated hotel. Anyone who lies on a passenger locator form, and tries to conceal that they’ve been in a country on our red list in the 10 days before arrival here, will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Believed to be the same as England

What Happens to Manx Residents Returning from ‘Red Countries’ via the UK?

A bit unclear this, actually. Gef has asked the Cabinet Office for clarification, but they were still waiting for confirmation from Westminster.

The UK Gov’s website only says: ‘This new system is for England. And we’re working on similarly tough schemes with the devolved administrations. And working with the Irish Government to put in place a system that works across the Common Travel Area.’

Meanwhile the Scottish Gov has said: ‘Managed isolation will apply to travellers arriving from outside the Common Travel Area (CTA) a long-standing arrangement between the UK, the Crown Dependencies (Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Isle of Man) and Ireland.’