Behind the Borders: The day the Isle of Man abolished social distancing

“The time has come to take a big step out of your life.”

Those were the words of the Chief Minister, Howard Quayle MHK, after making the biggest leap forward out of lockdown yet.

The Isle of Man has now become the first place in the British Isles to completely abolish social distancing rules.

With 26 days of no new cases of coronavirus, the government has decided it is now safe to allow all social interaction to take place.

This follows Public Health Isle of Man claiming to have achieved ‘local elimination’ of the virus, making the likelihood of catching it ‘incredibly low’.

A quick walk down Douglas high street, and you can already see the effects.

Hundreds of people taking the shops in what could easily be described as the 'old normal'.

But one that was widely welcomed by the Manx public.

Social distancing does, however, need to continue in healthcare settings including care homes.

It's also worth noting in today's interview with the Chief Minister, he confirmed the government still expects cases to emerge in future.

And if needs be, social distancing will be brought back into effect, starting at one metre.

336

Total confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Isle of Man.

Credit: Isle of Man Government

But after 82 days of enforced distancing, this small community can now come back together.

With borders still closed, this is by no means the end.

But for most living here, it certainly feels like the new Manx normal isn’t far away.