Pubs, bars and restaurants on the Isle of Man are bracing for an influx of revellers this weekend as residents on the island prepare for a blowout to celebrate the end of lockdown.
Bar bosses are expecting venues to be bustling across Friday, Saturday and Sunday as customers flow back into the pubs and restaurants to mark the island’s first weekend of freedom.
But with drinks set to be flowing, police on the island have have urged residents to remain respectful.
It comes after one man was arrested yesterday – the first day pubs and bars had reopened – for being drunk and disorderly and assaulting a shop worker.
Meanwhile, restaurant bosses have revealed how they have already taken a flurry of bookings for the upcoming weekend, while pubs and nightclubs are putting out job adverts for bar staff.
Lockdown measures on the island – which sits in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland – were lifted yesterday.
Social distancing measures and mask-wearing rules were also scrapped, but strict border controls banning all but residents and key workers from entering remain.
The island, which is a crown dependency and has its own government, was plunged into a 25-day circuit breaker lockdown after a Covid outbreak at the turn of the new year.
But pubs, bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen yesterday after officials announced the outbreak had been brought under control.
Bar bosses have told MailOnline how customers flooded back to the bars last night and how they now are looking forward to a lively weekend.
Andy Saunders, owner of live music venue, The Original Quids Inn, in the capital town of Douglas, said: ‘It’ll be a very busy weekend, it was like a bank holiday weekend on Monday following our release from the circuit breaker.
Lockdown measures on the island – which has its own government – were lifted yesterday. Social distancing measures and mask-wearing rules were also scrapped. Pictured: A pub-goer enjoys a pint after lockdown ended
Customers in the Isle of Man enjoy cocktails as the island lifts lockdown restrictions after a 25-day circuit breaker came to an end
With drinks set to be flowing, police on the island have have urged residents to remain respectful. It comes after one man was arrested yesterday – the first day pubs and bars had reopened – for being drunk and disorderly and assaulting a shop worker. Pictured: Police shared this message today
Andy Saunders (pictured left), owner of live music venue, The Original Quids Inn (pictured right), in the capital town of Douglas, expects it will be a very busy weekend
‘It was full of musicians, friends and regulars just loving being out and seeing each other again.’
How the Isle of Man battled Covid
March 2020: The Isle of Man government confirms its first two cases of Covid. Three days later it closes its borders to non-residents.
May 2020: The island has its first Covid death.
June 2020: After seeing no new Covid cases in weeks, the Isle of Man Government lifts all restrictions. It continues with its tough border measures. Those who are allowed in have to isolate for two weeks on their own.
November 2020: The island records its first Covid death in six months.
January 2021: A short circuit breaker lockdown is imposed after seven new cases are discovered. All schools, pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops close. The isolation period is extended to three weeks, reduced to two weeks after a negative test on the 14th day.
February 2021: The lockdown measures are lifted after 20 days without an unexplained community case.
The bar has already booked live music acts across the weekend. Mr Saunders, 48, added: ‘We start on Wednesday with Karaoke then have live original bands performing Thursday, Friday and Saturday before another karaoke Sunday afternoon and then an Open Mic music event Sunday evening.’
Down the road, restaurant, bar and nightclub, The Courthouse, has posted a job advert on its website searching for weekend bar staff.
Meanwhile, one bar owner told Good Morning Britain today: ‘(We opened) yesterday lunchtime. There was a quite queue of people waiting to come in.
‘Some regular customers were quite keen to come to the doors. It was quite a nice atmosphere, relaxed, people were relieved to be out again, it was lovely.’
In the island’s second biggest town, Ramsey, staff at a Tapas bar are also preparing for a busy weekend after taking a flurry of bookings.
Truth and Wine Tapas Bar told MailOnline: ‘We are more than ready for the weekend ahead and as of yet, it is looking set to be a busy one.
‘We have a good few bookings and we also take walk ins alongside for tapas as well as just for drinks.
‘I do believe we will be busier than normal at this time of the year, most definitely.
‘People are excited to go out and celebrate after a failed start to the new year. We are looking forward to it and hoping for a great weekend.’
It comes as last night residents on the island returned to the pubs and bars after almost a month of lockdown.
But on a busy but mostly civil first night of freedom, one man ended up in hot-water with police.
A spokesperson for Isle of Man Constabulary said: ‘A male was arrested having assaulted another person in an off licence. He was drunk at the time.
Revellers on the Isle of Man enjoyed their first taste of lockdown freedom yesterday by meeting up in The Original Quids Inn in Douglas
Pubs reopened and social distancing and mask-wearing measures were scrapped, allowing revellers to meet up in The Original Quids Inn in Douglas (pictured) yesterday
One bar owner in Douglas, told Good Morning Britain that he opened at lunchtime on Monday
He said the atmosphere was ‘relaxed’ and that people were ‘relieved to be out again’ after lockdown
‘Disorderly behaviour or violence will not be tolerated especially on licensed premises.
‘We will support the staff that work within the licensing trade no more so than now following weeks of lost revenue.’
On the upcoming weekend, the force added: ‘We all want everyone to enjoy the relaxation of the lock down we have all experienced. Everyone deserves it.
‘No doubt this coming weekend will be pretty busy in the pubs and bars around the Island, please don’t spoil that time by drinking too much and acting in a way that you would regret the following day.
Why does the Isle of Man have its own Covid rules?
The simple answer is – the Isle of Man is not actually part of the UK.
The island, like Guernsey and Jersey, is a British Crown dependency.
It has its own parliament, its own government and its own rules.
The UK, on behalf of the Crown, is ultimately responsible for its international relations, while also providing its defence.
‘Have fun, keep it sensible and be kind to one another.’
The Isle of Man yesterday lifted all of its laws – with pubs, schools and shops reopened and social distancing and face mask rules scrapped.
The move came after health chiefs recorded just 15 active and isolated cases yesterday on the island.
But while the island’s 50 pubs have been given the green light to throw open their doors, its borders – which have been shut since March – remain closed to all but residents and key workers.
The tight border controls and strict isolation measures helped keep the island, which is home to around 85,000 people, restriction free for months.
There have been a total of 434 cases and 25 deaths on the Isle of Man since the start of the pandemic.
Chief Minister, Howard Quayle MHK, yesterday 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.’
Mr Quayle praised residents on the island for the ‘collective determination’ and ‘community spirit’ which he said had helped them eliminate Covid from the island.
However he urged residents not to get complacent, adding: ‘Although this is a moment for relief and celebration, we cannot let down our guard.
‘We are seeing other jurisdictions that have achieved local elimination battling with outbreaks. We must remain vigilant.’
The Isle of Man has lifted all of its lockdown rules – including reopening pubs, schools and shops and scrapping social distancing and face masks. Pictured: The Seven Kingdoms in Douglas welcomed customers in at one minute past midnight this morning
A table of women enjoy their drinks in the Isle of Man on February 1, the day that pubs, schools and shops reopened and social distancing and face mask rules were scrapped
The island is home to around 85,000 residents and has approximately 50 pubs – which are now allowed to open
A woman is served in a bar as the Isle of Man lifts lockdown restrictions on Monday
A smiling barrister is pictured in the Isle of Man after lockdown restrictions were lifted on Monday
Under the new rules, gyms and restaurants will reopen and employees can return to work as normal in most settings.
The majority of public services will return to normal operation in the coming days.
However strict border controls will remain in place. The Isle of Man is currently operating at its ‘Border Level 4’ – the third highest tier of restrictions.
This means Isle of Man residents and key workers are able to freely travel – air or sea with no limits on numbers.
Travel is banned for non-residents – though compassionate and contractual applications are considered.
But there is a mandatory 21 day self-isolation for those entering the island, or testing for release on day 14, with those isolating having to do so alone.
Meanwhile a vaccine roll-out on the island has begun. Health Minister David Ashford said everyone on the island will be offered a coronavirus jab by the end of September.
Those aged 50 and over would receive the jabs by the end of May.
With its strict border controls, the Isle of Man remained restriction free for almost seven months last year.
It closed its borders in March, before allowing residents and essential workers back into the country from July.
Under the new rules, gyms and restaurants will reopen and employees can return to work as normal in most settings. Above, a high street is packed with shoppers on the first day the lockdown is lifted
Mr Quayle praised residents on the island for the ‘collective determination’ and ‘community spirit’ which he said had helped them eliminate Covid from the island. Pictured: Residents on the Isle of Man return to the pub after lockdown is ended
The measures on the island, which is self-governing, were scrapped today after a 25-day circuit breaker lockdown came to an end. But while pubs have today thrown open their doors, the island’s borders – which have been shut since March – remain closed to all but residents and key workers. Pictured left: A pub-goer on the Isle of Man enjoys a pint after the end of lockdown. Pictured right: A pub boss pulls a pint on the first day of the end of lockdown
Shoppers came out in force on Monday as lockdown restrictions lifted, allowing shops, pubs and restaurants to open
The majority of public services will return to normal operation in the coming days. However strict border controls will remain in place. Pictured: A resident on the Isle of Man returns to the pub for the first time since lockdown measures were introduced
Travel is banned to the Isle of Man for non-residents – though compassionate and contractual applications are considered. But there is a mandatory 21 day self-isolation on return or testing for release on day 14, with those isolating having to isolate alone
The island’s circuit breaker lockdown was imposed after the new year, when an individual tested positive after completing their two weeks in isolation.
What is the Covid situation on the Isle of Man?
Only 434 cases of Covid have been diagnosed in the Isle of Man since the pandemic began, official figures show.
It means the island, which has a population of around 85,000, has only recorded 510 cases for every 100,000 people.
By contrast, the rate in the UK — home to approximately 66million people — stands 11 times higher at around 5,714.
But that figure will be even higher because it only takes into account people who got symptoms and asked for a test. Almost a third of infected patients will never develop any signs of being ill.
Of those cases on the Isle of Man, 25 have died. It means the island has a death rate of 295.5 per million people — roughly five times lower than the UK.
The Isle of Man’s borders have been shut since March and remain closed to all but residents and key workers. It recorded no infections between May and the start of September.
Officials on the island ordered a 25-day circuit-breaker lockdown shortly after the New Year, in response to a handful of new cases. As a result, it has only diagnosed two new cases in the past fortnight.
The isolation policy of the island, which is a self-governing British Crown dependency, was also adapted.
The period of isolation was increased from two weeks to three weeks in mandatory quarantine or two weeks with three swab tests on day one, seven and 13.
The isolation rules are also strictly enforced, with several people having been jailed between March and October for breaching the regulations.
Dale McLaughlan, 28, was jailed for 25-mile journey from Scotland to the Isle of Man on a jet-ski to visit his girlfriend Jessica Radcliffe, 30, last month.
Meanwhile a woman who turned up drunk at her ex-boyfriend’s home before throwing appliances worth £800 out of a top floor window was jailed for breaking Covid-19 laws.
Rosemary Burgess, 19, from Douglas, admitted entering someone else’s home and causing damage during the island’s lockdown. She was jailed for 20 weeks.
So far, the Isle of Man, which is home to around 85,000 people, has recorded 434 Covid cases since the pandemic began.
From those, 25 people have died. It means the island has a death rate of 295.5 per million people.
This is five times lower than the UK, which has 1,500 deaths per million people.
The lifting of restrictions on the self-governing Isle of Man comes as Boris Johnson last week revealed he has started work to lead the UK out of lockdown, as Covid cases continue to fall and the number of people vaccinated continues to rise.
The Prime Minister announced he was drawing up a blueprint setting out ‘when and how we want to get things open again’ once Covid figures are brought back under control.
The document is likely to be published around February 15, which is when the PM has pledged to review the current measures.
Government sources have suggested the plan is likely to include milestones concerning vaccinations and hospitalisations that have to be met before any grand reopening.
Schools are likely to be the first to open, no earlier than March 8.
Isle of Man teenager jailed for Covid-breach rampage
By Luke May for MailOnline
A woman has been jailed after breaking Covid rules by turning up drunk at her ex-boyfriend’s house before throwing a TV, microwave and furniture out of a top floor window.
Rosemary Burgess, 19, is said to have become furious after her partner left a comment on Facebook last Thursday.
The teenager stormed round to her ex’s home on the Isle of Man wielding a metal pole, before throwing £800 worth of items out of the window, a court has heard.
Burgess, from Douglas, admitted to entering someone else’s home and causing damage to property, as well as breaching Covid-19 rules.
She was jailed for 20 weeks.
According to the BBC, Burgess arrived at her ex-boyfriend’s flat in Douglas at around 9.30pm last Thursday.
Her arrival was already in breach of the island’s lockdown rules.
It is thought ministers will want to wait a month after schools have reopened before allowing any further loosening of curbs so they can consider the impact the return to classrooms will have on the R rate.
However, should the numbers allow, it is thought the Government could allow non-essential shops to reopen in April.
Pubs, bars and restaurants could be allowed to welcome back customers in some form one month after the reopening of non-essential shops.
One source said: ‘It’s at an early stage, but we are beginning to look at what the metrics and criteria will be when we are ready to start thinking about unlocking.
‘What are the things that we need to get on top of before we can really get going, confident that we won’t have to lock down again.
‘Obviously that will include things like vaccination numbers, the rate of transmission and the numbers being treated in hospital.
‘Then there is obviously the areas that we will want to prioritise for reopening first, with schools at the top of the list.’
Meanwhile Industry leaders have today urged Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to publish a roadmap to exit lockdown with retailers still ‘in the dark’ about when they might reopen.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has written to Mr Kwarteng demanding the Government helps companies prepare by confirming when they can expect to re-open.
Meanwhile social media users in the UK were left looking over at the Isle of Man with envious eyes after hearing news of the ending of lockdown restrictions.
Dozens took to Twitter to share their longing to return to a pub or restaurant.
On Twitter user joked: ‘Googling houses for sale Isle of Man…’
Another sharing an image of actress Embeth Davidtz peering over her glasses during the film Matilda, said: ‘Me looking longingly at the Isle of Man right now.’
Others questioned why the UK couldn’t achieve what has been achieved in the Isle of Man. One said: ‘So that’s what the inside of a pub looks like! Well done Isle of Man!
‘If only the rest of the UK (sic) had been allowed to benefit from being an island! Who knew bluster and waffle wouldn’t keep a pandemic at bay!’
Another added: ‘If only the UK had been an island like the Isle of Man.’
It comes as coronavirus cases and deaths yesterday fell again in the UK on last week as the latest official figures suggest that the national lockdown is helping to suppress the virus.
Data from the Department of Health show that the UK recorded 21,088 daily Covid-19 cases today, down by 29.7 per cent from 30,004 cases last Sunday.
The same figures also show that daily Covid-related fatalities fell by 3.7 per cent from 610 deaths last week to 587 deaths today.
Last week Boris Johnson revealed he has started work to lead the UK out of lockdown, as Covid cases continue to fall and the number of people vaccinated continues to rise
Grim new graphs lay bare the dilemma facing Boris Johnson as officials try to work out how to reopen the country without causing a third wave of coronavirus infections, as SAGE recommends keeping social distancing measures in place until 2022
There are currently nearly 35,000 people in hospitals in the UK and 3,832 patients on ventilators, according to the latest official figures.
The second wave has seen bigger numbers of coronavirus patients in hospitals, with 21,684 patients during the peak of the first wave of the pandemic last April.
Another 598,389 Covid jabs are given out in UK – the highest total of the rollout so far – taking overall number of vaccinations to 8,251,146
Nearly 600,000 coronavirus vaccines have been given out in the past 24 hours in Britain, smashing the previous record of 491,970 jabs in a single day.
The total number of people in the UK who have now received at least one dose of the jab, seen as the antidote for our way out of the pandemic, is 8,977,329.
In England alone, nearly 550,000 vaccines were given, while a further 25,299 jabs were administered in Wales and 23,055 in Scotland. Figures for Northern Ireland have not been published.
According to NHS England data, 7,792,996 were the first dose of the vaccine, a rise of 539,691 on the previous day’s figures, while 458,150 were the second dose, an increase of 10,252, between December 8 and yesterday.
This marks the highest number of jabs given to Britons so far as the government looks to bring the cycle of coronavirus lockdowns to an end by proceeding with its breakneck rollout of the vaccines.
It comes as Public Health England said the impact of Covid vaccinations in the over-80s should be seen ‘over the next two weeks’.
Dr Susan Hopkins, the Covid-19 strategic response director at the body, said rates a declining ‘in all age groups’ currently but it’s ‘a bit early to say’ if the trend is due to the vaccine or more stringent lockdown measures.
Speaking to BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Dr Hopkins said: ‘What we would like to see is a divergence in the case rate in the over-70s and over-80s who have been vaccinated from the younger age groups, to show that they are declining faster.
‘We have now hit 80 per cent of the over-80s being vaccinated and really fast numbers climbing in the under 80-year-old age group as well.
‘We expect over the next two weeks to start seeing that impact of that vaccine in that age group, and also an impact on hospitalisation.’
Also today, intensive care doctors said the coronavirus crisis in hospitals has ‘stabilised’ and staff are no longer have to plan for extra capacity – but warned that 2021 is going to be ‘another very hard year’ for the nation.
The announcement follows reports that SAGE has advised the government to keep social distancing measures in place until the end of the year amid fears that reopening the country too quickly will prompt a third wave of infections.
New modelling passed on to No10 suggests that restrictions including the Rule of Six may have to remain in place until 2022, while coronavirus vaccines would need to be 85 per cent effective to prevent a surge in deaths if curbs were totally eased.
A downbeat paper commissioned by SAGE subgroup SPI-M and produced by the University of Warwick showed that the UK could experience a large spike in deaths if inoculation fails to significantly cut transmission of Covid-19 while draconian shutdown measures are relaxed.
It warns that a ‘high uptake’ of vaccinations is also vital to getting the country back to normal without risking a dreaded third wave of the disease, which has now claimed more than 100,000 lives according to official figures.
The paper also claims that even with Britain’s breakneck jab roll-out well underway, the decline in deaths would be crushingly slow – and that even in a best-case scenario lockdown would have to be kept in place until June to prevent another significant spike in deaths.
Volunteers are trained by St John Ambulance instructors to administer Covid-19 vaccines at Manchester United Football Club yesterday
Lecturer Dr Jacquie White demonstrates drawing a solution into a syringe as she trains volunteer vaccinators to be deployed to assist in the national Covid-19 vaccination programme, in the Allam Medical Building at the University of Hull yesterday
‘Only vaccines that offer high infection-blocking efficacy with high uptake in the general population allow relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions without a huge surge in deaths,’ the paper recommends.
Lead researcher Dr Sam Moore said that even if vaccines do have a significant impact on reducing infections, the impact will not be seen ‘for some time to come’. He added: ‘So I think they have to relax slowly and we’re going to have to be patient. ‘And we need a very high uptake in order to have this effect.’
The modelling, which helps to explain why Boris Johnson is so reticent to end the third national coronavirus lockdown, comes amid renewed pressure from Tory backbenchers for a ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown.
So far the government’s route out of the cycle of shutdowns initiated last March would see schools closed until at least March 8, with hospitality businesses including pubs and restaurants to reopen as far away as April.
But with Rishi Sunak mulling increases to capital gains tax to pay for the massive £400billion blackhole in public spending accrued during the pandemic and warnings that the economy could take a decade to recover, Tory MPs are likely to be rattled by the new graphs.
‘I did it for love’: ‘Jetski Romeo’ who was jailed for breaking Covid rules after dashing across the Irish Sea to see his girlfriend says he felt like a ‘c***py James Bond’
By Jemma Carr for MailOnline
A lovesick Romeo roofer who was jailed for breaking Covid restrictions after crossing the Irish Sea on a jetski to see his girlfriend told how he felt like a ‘c***py
Dale McLaughlan, 28, made the 25-mile journey from Scotland to the Isle of Man to visit his girlfriend Jessica Radcliffe, 30, last month.
The journey was the first time McLaughlan had ever set foot on a jetski – and he thought it would only take 45 minutes.
But the journey ended up being four hours long after McLaughlan – who had a negative Covid test result before leaving – lost his £100 marine GPS device in a huge wave.
McLaughlan was arrested and sentenced to four weeks in jail for breaking anti-Covid rules – but was released and sent back to Scotland before Christmas.
Dale McLaughlan, 28, (pictured) who was jailed for breaking Covid restrictions after crossing the Irish Sea on a jetski to see his girlfriend, told how he felt like a ‘c***py James Bond’ after his reckless journey nearly ended in disaster
McLaughlan made the 25-mile journey from Scotland to the Isle of Man to visit his girlfriend Jessica Radcliffe, 30, (pictured together) last month
The journey was the first time McLaughlan (pictured during the journey) had ever set foot on a jetski – and he thought it would only take 45 minutes
He kept the rising sun in the east over his left shoulder to make sure he stayed on track – but was battered by 6ft waves, near-freezing rain and fog.
McLaughlan said he thought of mother-of-two Ms Radcliffe (pictured) – who he met on a night out in September – to keep him going
He said he thought of mother-of-two Ms Radcliffe – who he met on a night out in September – to keep him going.
McLaughlan – who himself has two children from a previous relationship – also listened to love ballads to pull him through, ironically including Love Is All Around by Wet Wet Wet.
He arrived in a town 15 miles away from Ms Radcliffe and made the journey to her house on foot.
McLaughlan first met Ms Radcliffe on a night out in September after he was granted permission to legally spend four weeks working on the island, which has enforced strict border rules during the pandemic.
After returning to the mainland, he tried more than once to return to the Isle of Man to see his new girlfriend, but was denied permission by the authorities.
Under the island’s emergency coronavirus laws, anyone breaching the rules faces a maximum of three months behind bars or a fine of up to £10,000.
McLaughlan then carried out his plan to buy a jet ski and set off across the Irish Sea on December 11, despite the dangers and his lack of experience.
He went out with Ms Radcliffe to two bars in Douglas on the Friday night until 1.30am on the Sunday.
This map shows the 25-mile trip McLaughlan made from Scotland to the Isle of Man last month
Dale McLaughlan, pictured, was jailed for four weeks after admitting arriving unlawfully on the island to see his sweetheart Ms Radcliffe
McLoughlan had driven 75 miles through the night on single track forest roads from his home in Irvine, North Ayrshire, to reach Whithorn (above), Scotland’s closest point to the Isle of Man
When a coastguard saw McLaughlan launch his jet ski from the slipway (above) he jokingly said, ‘Are you going to the Isle of Man?’
When he was questioned by police in the street, he gave his address as her home and claimed he lived permanently on the island.
He was arrested at Ms Radcliffe’s house on December 13. Ms Radcliffe has not been accused of any criminal offence, but had to quarantine herself for two weeks at home.
McLaughlan was handed a four-week jail sentence at Douglas Courthouse for breaching anti-Covid rules – but was released in time for Christmas and sent back to Scotland.
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