New guidance permits outside gatherings of up to 10 people

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted from Wednesday morning, with social distancing being observed at all times between those from different households. 

Chief Minister Howard Quayle today confirmed the next steps being taken to enable the Isle of Man to continue its gradual emergence from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Announcements were made on social measures such as gatherings and others relating to health and the economy, in line with the approach laid out in the Stay Safe medium term response document.

Describing the revised approach to outdoor gatherings, the Chief Minister explained they may take place on private property or in public places and include those from multiple households. If the gathering takes place at someone’s home, the limit of 10 must include the people who live at that address.

The Chief Minister also explained changes to rules around indoor gatherings, which pose a greater risk of infection. ‘The clinical advice is that gatherings inside pose more risk than outside,’ he said. ‘We are inevitably closer together and the risk of touching shared surfaces is there. So what we are ready to allow is more limited.’

From Wednesday morning, up to two people can visit you inside your home with no time restriction. Both visitors must be from the same household, and social distancing must be observed to reduce the risk of infection.

The Chief Minister added: ‘We want you to continue to make the right decisions for you and your loved ones. You know if you have someone in your home who is vulnerable or who has been told to shield.

‘I know that from Wednesday, so many of you will want to go round and see that friend or family member you maybe haven’t seen in person for weeks. And maybe you really want to hug that person.

‘But please think before you hug. How sure are you that you are not taking them the virus? 

‘As we start to stay out of your personal lives, you need to take responsibility for the decisions that are right for you and your family. Ultimately, it is your choice.’

In addition to specific changes, the Chief Minister also provided an update on other issues and signposted when they would next be reviewed:

  • An update on the resumption of health services suspended as the Island focussed on dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be made by Health and Social Case Minister David Ashford MHK on Friday 22 May.
  • The Isle of Man Government will continue to support office-based companies as they plan for a possible phased return. Advice remains in place to continue to enable staff to work from home as much as possible.
  • A number of sports will be positively impacted by changes on gatherings. The Department of Education, Sport & Culture will work with associations and clubs to agree what this means for them. Some may need a change of regulation so changes may not be immediate.
  • From Wednesday 20 May, libraries and campsites can reopen to the public and nurseries will be able to extend their services to accommodate children of those working in construction and related trades.
  • As soon as it’s ready, the General Registry will be able to take forward administration around weddings. Religious ceremonies can be organised in line with the most up to date restrictions on gatherings. The final decision, however, is for the place of worship and the guidance issued by their relevant religious bodies.
  • From Wednesday 20 May, domestic cleaners can resume work as long as they can do so in a manner that is safe for them and the households where they work.
  • Auction houses can reopen with immediate effect as long as they have appropriate social distancing measures in place.

The Chief Minister concluded: ‘I know that for many people, the changes we have made to gatherings will come as a huge relief. You will now be able to see your nearest and dearest.

‘But please only do so in a way that is not going to put their health at risk. The less contact you have and the less time you are there, will mean less risk.

‘As we move forward, Government cannot micro-manage your daily lives and your homes. We will need you – more and more – to make the right decisions for you, your family and our Island community.

The future is in your hands.’

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