Leading the way for a return to normalcy, the Isle of Man government took action after recording only 15 COVID cases on January 31, out of a 85,000-strong population. All schools and businesses have reopened.
This follows a 25-day ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown that began on January 7 when cases had started rising again. And that lockdown seems to have had the intended effects, as community spreading has fallen down below measurable amounts.
The first crown territory to revert to pre-pandemic rules
Chief Minister, Howard Quayle MHK, said:
After almost a month of lockdown, this is the moment we have all been waiting for. The Isle of Man has achieved local elimination of the virus for a second time, meaning the risk of community spread of COVID-19 is extremely low. We beat the virus once and we have done so again. […] Last time we achieved local elimination, we enjoyed almost seven months of relative normality here in the Isle of Man. With this record, our strengthened testing regime, and the growing pace of our vaccination programme, I hope this lockdown represents a blip to the start of 2021, with brighter days ahead.
Revelry is expected as pubs and restaurants have returned to a pre-pandemic business model, for the most part dropping the takeaway-only service. As social distancing and masks are no longer necessary, one can only expect the rooms to be packed by citizens thirsty for more than alcohol. Bar owners expect business to be booming starting Friday, through to Sunday.
Authorities brace as people make up for lost time
Police forces have consequently urged the populace to exercise a bit of restraint in regards to alcohol consumption. Already, one man was arrested drunk on February 1, the very first day businesses reopened, for having assaulted a shop worker whilst inebriated.
Travel restrictions are still in effect however, no doubt in an effort to preserve the sanitary conditions of the island. Only residents and essential workers are allowed to enter the territory, and even then must be quarantined for up to 21 days.
It’ll be a very busy weekend, it was like a bank holiday weekend on Monday following our release from the circuit breaker.