Isle of Man ends all coronavirus lockdown rules with pubs open and no social distancing

2 February 2021, 11:12 | Updated: 2 February 2021, 11:15

The Isle of Man has scrapped all social distancing rules
The Isle of Man has scrapped all social distancing rules. Picture: Getty Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Residents on the Isle of Man have rushed to pubs and shops after all Covid rules were lifted today.

All social distancing rules on the Isle of Man locals have now ended after a 25 day ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown.

As of one minute past midnight today, bars and pubs were allowed to reopen their doors, while shops and restaurants could open for business.

After the island recorded 20 days without an unexplained community case, all schools have also reopened and healthcare services have returned to normal.

Social distancing measures and masks are no longer necessary, but can be worn as a matter of personal choice for locals.

Manx Chief Minister Howard Quayle has said the ending of Covid-19 restrictions was 'a moment for relief and celebration'.

He appeared on Good Morning Britain, telling hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid they managed to stop the virus spreading thanks to tough rules.

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Mr Quayle explained: "We went in pretty hard and fast in March of last year.

"We closed our borders initially, then we brought in tough restrictions so people have to quarantine when they come on the Isle of Man if they travelled off the island for fourteen years.

"Now we do testing on day 1, 6 and 15 before we allow them to go back into the community."

The island had six months where they were ‘totally Covid-free’ at the end of last year, but after a few cases were detected at the beginning of January, they put in place a month-long circuit breaker.

The Chief Minister added that the Isle of Man also imposed a rule that could see people face ‘up to 4 weeks in prison’ for ignoring the restrictions.

He continued: "We had virtually 99 percent buy-in to everything we did. We had regular press briefings to let the people know what was happening and they could see, within a couple of months, we were back to normal.

"They saw the benefits of following the rules but obviously there's always a small percentage of people who do not follow the rules. We did have pretty tough actions if you didn't follow the rules."

Though restrictions have been completely lifted on the island, the border remains closed to non-residents except for key workers.

Meanwhile, most of the UK is set to continue with tough lockdown restrictions into March.

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