Everything You Need to Know Ahead of Saturday’s Border Changes

We got a lot of info today from the Chief Minister about changes to the island’s border policy, so we’ve created this quick(ish) guide to what changes and when.

Levels

From May 1, the island’s borders will move from Level 4 to Level 3. 

Who Can Come?

Family members and property owners will be able to apply for an exemption to travel to the island from 12 pm on Friday. This includes partners of residents and partners of those with families on the island. Full details of who qualifies can be found here.

How Do They Apply?

Travellers will be able to apply online or in writing and are advised not to book travel before their application is approved?

When They Get Here

With the change in border levels comes a change in the iso requirements for people travelling to the island. Both resident and non-resident travellers, who have been in the UK, Jersey or Guernsey for 14 days before their arrival onto the island, will now only have to isolate for seven days instead of 14. To benefit from the reduced isolation period, a negative test result will be required on arrival and on day six of isolation.  

After seven days of isolation, and subject to negative test results on arrival and on day six, travellers will be able to leave isolation. There will, however, be restrictions on where they can go between day seven and day 10. These will be set out in direction notices issued to travellers.

Shared Iso

Those coming to the island can choose to isolate themselves with families etc but the whole household must follow the same iso rules. That means a seven-day iso for everyone, but only the traveller has to get tested. And if the traveller’s first test is negative then the whole household can exercise once a day, but they have to wear a face-covering and maintain distancing from people not in their house. If a traveller chooses not to undergo testing, they will not be able to isolate in shared accommodation. They will have to iso on their own or with those they travelled with.

International Travel

There will be additional restrictions for anyone travelling to the Isle of Man who has travelled outside of the Crown Dependencies or the UK in the 14 days prior to their arrival on the island. This DOES include the Republic of Ireland. Those who have been further abroad or in the RoI need to isolate for 14 days with a test on arrival and on day 13. If a traveller chooses not to undergo testing, they will be required to isolate for 21 days. They CANNOT isolate themselves within a shared household.

Testing

One of the most contentious issues with travellers has been the cost of Covid testing, which had been £50. As of May 1st, this is dropping to £30. Travellers also will only need to take two tests instead of three so the max cost is dropping from £150 to £60 per person. Still costly for some but better than it was.

The March Towards June

By the end of May, the gov hopes to be able to move our borders to Level 2 which means a drop in iso requirements and more freedom for travellers and by the end of June, we should (fingers crossed) be fully open and able to roam free across the British Isles. What exactly this means for international travel remains to be seen, but the current indication is that Manx residents will have to follow the UK’s traffic light system for travel outside of the Common Travel Area.

The Chief

The final word goes to Chief Minister Howard Quayle who today said: ‘Our border restrictions, put in place at the start of the pandemic, have served us well and have been a vital line of defence against the importation and spread of COVID-19. The Isle of Man is beginning a period of transition, moving away from trying to eliminate COVID-19 and instead adapting to live in a world with the virus. This change in approach, set out in the gov’s COVID-19 Exit Framework, reflects the rapid progress of both the Isle of Man and UK vaccination programmes and the significant fall in COVID-19 cases in the UK.

‘I know that our border restrictions, whilst necessary and widely supported, have been hard for many in our community and for their families and loved ones off-island. I am pleased that we are now in a position for residents to welcome family members back to our beautiful island, with appropriate restrictions and safeguards in place to protect our people.’

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