Behind the Borders: Is the Isle of Man ready to open up to everyone in June?

The Isle of Man has started to shift from eradicating the virus to methods that encourage people to make their own choices to live alongside the virus. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

For 13 months, the Isle of Man has been closed to the vast majority of non-residents.

Throughout the duration of the pandemic both the health experts and the government has said the borders remain the strongest defence against Covid-19.

But after what feels like a lifetime family, partners and property owners will once again be allowed to start entering the Island from May 1.

And it is hoped by June 28, everyone will be allowed to travel in with no mandatory isolation.

But after such precaution over the last year, why so soon?


"We've got to learn to live with the virus" - the words of the Chief Minister as the Island shifts from stamping out the virus, to living alongside it.

Up until recently, the Island has prided itself with a 'Covid-free' status living life fairly normally for the majority of the pandemic.

But as part of the updated exit strategy document, Ministers are aiming to shift the mindset from widespread rules to personal choice based on new guidelines.

  • Maintain general hygiene.

  • If unwell, stay home.

  • Avoid crowded spaces with poor ventilation.

  • Consider social distance.

These guidelines is the first step in giving the power back to the public, but the government says it will continue to react to any posing threats if necessary.

Although other methods will now be prioritised and carefully considered before jumping into future lockdowns.

Crucially, whereas before decisions were largely led by numbers of new cases and active cases, the focus will now be on hospital numbers and those in critical need of care.

The Isle of Man lifted all on-Island Covid-19 restrictions for a third time on April 19. Credit: ITV Granada Reports


Even when the Island held its 'Covid-free' status, cases of the virus remained on the Island.

These were people who had travelled back to the Isle of Man from the UK and remained in self-isolation meaning the virus could be effectively tracked and isolated.

And while measures on the borders are on the verge of being eased, testing and mandatory isolation will remain in place at least until the end of May.

All residents are also advised to continue to call 111 if experiencing any symptoms to organise a PCR test at the Island's TT Grandstand drive-in test centre.

Anyone showing symptoms for Covid-19 is asked to travel to the TT Grandstand to be tested for the virus. Credit: ITV Granada Reports


Over 72,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have now been administered in the Isle of Man - 56,337 first doses and 15,756 second doses - figures that should not go unnoticed.

That's over 64% of the roughly 85,000 population having already received at least their first dose of the vaccination.

A 'world leader' in the vaccination rollout, as many have reported.

Whereas England are now offering the jab to those aged 42 and over, the Isle of Man is now rolling out the jab to those aged 18 and over.

Of course the Island has far fewer people to jab, but considering the Manx community receive a share of the NHS supply chain per head of the population, it remains quite the achievement.

So with that, a degree of confidence is held by those in power that a successful rollout of the vaccination will be a stronger defence to the public than the current reliance on borders.

Covid-19 vaccination Chester Street Hub in Douglas, Isle of Man. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

As I write this, the Isle of Man has no on-Island Covid-19 restrictions - social distancing has been abolished and face coverings are not mandatory.

That's not to say people aren't being cautious - after the 'hokey cokey lockdowns' we've just been through, some are still taking every precaution.

However restaurants are open, pub gatherings are happening and life continues... alongside the virus.

Cases with no known origin are continuing to emerge confirming spread in the community, but numbers remain stable and hospital figures low.

It's not perfect, but it is progress.

And enough for the government to set a target date to open up the once Covid-free Island, to the rest of the world.